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Gossip's Beth Ditto Reveals She Legally Married Fiancé In Oregon On New Year's Eve

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Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto revealed on Facebook earlier this week that she legally married her fiancé Kristin Ogata in Oregon on New Year's Eve reports Winnipeg Free PressThe singer originally had a non-legally binding ceremony in Maui with Ogata in July 2013, but with the Oregon ceremony the couple are officially married according to state law. Ditto took time to thank those who fought for gay marriage throughout the U.S. in the last year with a post on Facebook.

Said Ditto:

"Legally married finally, a year later!

"Thanks everyone who fought to make gay marriage legal in Oregon! In 2015, the whole U.S.!"

Full details of the Oregon ceremony are still under wraps however, in Ditto's 2013 Maui ceremony she wore a Jean Paul Gaultier gown with a low-cut bodice, tulle skirt and a veil to walk down the aisle. Ditto chose not to wear shoes during the ceremony, walking down the aisle barefoot. Ogata wore a three-piece suit jacket, shirt and shorts for the occasion. Ogata worked as Ditto's assistant during the production of the group's album "Standing in the Way of Control." At the time Ditto developed strong feelings for Ogata, but she was still in a nine-year relationship with Freddie Fagula; Ditto ended the relationship in January 2010 and explained the breakup and her relationship with Ogata.

Said Ditto:

"It was something that I kept hidden deep inside of me. But everyone knew. Even people at parties and clubs would be like, 'When are they going to get together?' There was always a little guilt inside of me because I felt I was cheating, but I never cheated. We never did anything ... I dated Freddie for nine years, and I was always worried it was going to end. With Kristen I never worry about it ending, I just feel completely full and whole."

Ditto has yet to post any photos from the Oregon ceremony except one of the couple together with a caption announcing their marriage on Facebook. 


Hawaii Supreme Court Will Hear Gay Marriage Appeal

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Hawaii's highest court will hear an appeal by state Rep. Bob McDermott, seeking to undo the state's gay marriage law.

You may remember McDermott from presiding over what Joe. My. God. calls "the most vicious anti-gay marriage hearings we've seen" — an anti-gay "citizen's filibuster" in the Hawaiian House of Representatives. 

Over a year ago, the Hawaiian senate passed the Marriage Equality Bill in a vote 20-4, legalizing gay marriage in the state. McDermott's argument says this ruling was invalid. He claims that on a 1998 initiative, Hawaiian voters misunderstood their ballots and intended to vote for a marriage ban rather than leaving the issue up to legislators.

This is not Rep. McDermott's first attempt to challenge the bill. He tried it in January of this year and failed.


Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

BerzonA soft-spoken attorney representing Idaho started his state's anti-marriage equality argument by suggesting that allowing gays to marry violates the "bonding right" of children that they will be raised by their biological mothers and fathers. It took Judge Marsha Berzon just 15 seconds to ask her first question: "What is that word you're using before 'right'"? Judge Berzon can hear just fine; it's just that she had never heard anyone make such a ridiculous claim before today. The rest of the hearing followed similarly.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter-appointee and liberal leader of the appellate courts, was joined by Judge Berzon, a sharp-minded progressive appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Robert Gould, another Clinton appointee, in a nearly two-hour long interrogation of attorneys from Idaho and Nevada that may not have been as bombastic as Judge Posner's treatment of attorneys from Wisconsin and Indiana in the Seventh Circuit, a hearing which resulted in a marvelous unanimous victory ("Go figure!"), but was every bit as damaging to the forces opposed to marriage equality.

It also brought marriage equality full circle. Judge Reinhardt was the judge that wrote the first decision from a federal appellate court on marriage equality, affirming District Judge Vaughn Walker's pioneering rejection of California's Prop 8. We all know how that case turned out.

And we know what's happened since: a Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and a long streak of pro-marriage equality decisions from the lower federal courts, including several appellate courts.

Yesterday's hearing reminded us how far we have really come. Some of the arguments and much of the tone were different this time around. The judges' questioning was direct and they expressed a similar, though less visible, frustration with the misdirection and misleading statements from the anti-equality attorneys as Judge Posner. The tone of the hearing suggested that marriage equality supporters are finally out of the closet, following a tidal wave of an emerging consensus of the legitimacy and morality of marriage freedom for all.

A summary and analysis follows AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis" »


Watch LIVE: Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii Gay Marriage Cases

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada gay marriage cases today and will be live streaming the arguments from the courtroom in San Francisco.

The feeds will begin shortly before 1pm PT, with Idaho getting 30 minutes per side, Nevada getting 20 minutes, and Hawaii 10. 

Watch the feeds AFTER THE JUMP... 

Last week, we reported on the three judge panel that will hear the gay marriage cases - with Equality on Trial pointing out that the trio are considered "some of the most liberal appeals court judges in the country." 

MSNBC reports that sexual orientation also has "heightened scrutiny" in the Ninth Circuit, which bodes well for a pro-equality victory: 

With heightened scrutiny, defendants (such as state officials arguing on behalf of same-sex marriage bans) would have to show how a law that treats gay and lesbian people differently serves an important or compelling state interest, not just a legitimate one. Heightened scrutiny essentially shifts the burden of proof off of the plaintiffs, and makes laws that discriminate against same-sex couples more difficult to defend.

Continue reading "Watch LIVE: Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii Gay Marriage Cases" »


9th Circuit Names 3 Judge Panel To Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has announced the 3 judge panel that will hear challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Hawaii and Nevada: Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Ronald M. Gould and Marsha S. Berzon. All three were appointed by Democrats and, as Equality on Trial points out, are considered to be "some of the most liberal appeals court judges in the country":

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, nominated by President Carter, is a highly respected liberal judge, known for writing the opinion in the Prop 8 case when it came before the Ninth Circuit; Judge Reinhardt also wrote the opinion inSmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Labs, which held that a heightened level of judicial scrutiny is required for laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, and that jurors can’t be discriminated against on that basis.

Judge Marsha Berzon, nominated by President Clinton, once clerked for Justice William Brennan, and is considered to be a solidly liberal judge. She joined Judge Reinhardt’s opinion in SmithKline as well.

The third judge on the panel is Judge Ronald Gould, also nominated by President Clinton. Judge Gould wrote the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Witt v. Dept. of Air Force, challenging Major Margaret Witt’s discharge from the military on the basis of her sexual orientation under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That decision held that heightened scrutiny is required under the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, and it led to an eventual ruling that Witt’s discharge was unconstitutional.

The appeals court’s decisions in SmithKline and Witt had already ensured a more difficult path to victory in the cases for the state officials and groups defending the same-sex marriage bans. This panel makes it even less likely, though not impossible, the bans would be upheld.

The 9th Circuit assigns cases to judges on a random basis.

You'll recall that when the Prop. 8 case came before Judge Reinhardt, he denied a request that he recuse himself from the case because his wife, head of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, was "an outspoken opponent of Proposition 8 and taken part in legal proceedings to overturn the voter-approved law."

The cases are set to be heard on Setpember 8th.


Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie Says Support for Marriage Equality Cost Him His Reelection Bid

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who recently lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to state Sen. David Ige, told reporters this week that it was his decision to call a special session last year to legalize marriage equality that ultimately led to his re-election bid defeat. 

The AP reports:

Abercrombie"Republicans crossed over en masse to vote in the Democratic primary, and then the religious factor came in," Abercrombie said. "Doctrinally I was outside the circle and paid for it." He argued that voters were urged to choose his opponent by their religious leaders.

Abercrombie, who spoke to reporters in his office, lost to Ige by a stunning 2-1 margin, the first time a Democratic governor has been unseated in a Hawaii primary.

But Abercrombie said losing was worth it to pass a law legalizing gay marriage.

"There's no way I could live with myself if I thought I was diminishing another human being's ability to reach their full capacity," Abercrombie said.

Executive director of the Hawaii Catholic Conference Walter Yoshimitsu said that he was unaware of any religious leaders urging voters to cross party lines and vote against Abercrombie in the primary. He did add though that many people were upset with Abercrombie's special session last year. 

"We couldn't have figured out what the urgency was," Yoshimitsu said. "If he had dealt with it in the regular session, there would have been more time."

Sometimes it's hard for the heterosexual Christians to see the "urgency" in the push for equal rights, ya know?


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