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

Ninth

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

9TH

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?


Neil Abercrombie, Hawaiian Governor Who Led State's Marriage Equality Push, Loses Reelection Bid

AbercrombieNeil Abercrombie, the Hawaiian governor who successfully led his state's efforts to pass marriage equality legislation last year, has lost his bid for a second term, the AP reports.

State Sen. David Ige, once seen as an underdog, cruised to a decisive 35 percentage point win in Saturday's primary after being dramatically outspent by Abercrombie, who also had high-profile endorsements including President Barack Obama. Ige said his win "proves that people power can be money power, especially in Hawaii." [...]

Abercrombie is the first Hawaii governor to lose to a primary challenger and only the second not to win re-election. His defeat comes after Obama last month cut a radio ad for Abercrombie, invoking the Hawaiian word for family to tell voters in his native state that Abercrombie is "like ohana to me."

The AP adds that Abercrombie's confrontational style and proposal to raise taxes last year contributed to his defeat.

Ige voted in favor of the marriage equality bill last year. 


9th Circuit Court of Appeals to Hear 3 Marriage Equality Cases in September

NincriSeptember is shaping up to be a busy month for the fight for marriage equality. Challenges to Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii’s bans on same-sex marriage are slated to be heard to be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals back to back to back on the same date.

The court’s official argument calendar now lists Jackson v. Abercrombie, Sevcik v. Sandoval, and Latta v. Otter as being heard on September 8th in the San Francisco court. Percentage wise, the 9th Circuit is comprised of the largest percentage (69%) of sitting judges appointed by Democratic presidents, making it a comparatively liberal circuit. The panel of judges presiding over these cases has not yet been made public, but it is safe to assume that the panel, as a group, will hear all three cases.


Friday Speed Read: LGBT History, GetEQUAL, Wisconsin, Mark Herring, Hawaii, HIV, Trans Soldiers

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

StonewallPRESERVING HISTORY:

Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to announce this morning a new National Park Service study to identify places and events associated with the LGBT civil rights struggle movement “and ensure that the agency is telling a complete story of America’s heritage and history.” Currently, only New York City’s Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots against police harassment, has the designation as a national historic landmark by the National Park Service. Jewell will make the announcement at the Stonewall Inn, accompanied by gay philanthropist Tim Gill and New York City Councilman Corey Johnson.

DEMANDING MORE:

The LGBT activist group GetEQUAL said it will stage a demonstration outside today’s event at the Stonewall “to demand more from the White House than simply a study of our history.”

HATE VIOLENCE STEADY:

An annual report on LGBT-related hate violence, released Thursday, indicates the number of incidents reported in 2013 “stayed relatively consistent” with the number reported in 2012. Only 45 percent of survivors reported the attacks to police, notes the report, published by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

WisconsinDEMANDING SHORTCUT FAILS:

A lesbian couple who took their challenge to Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying directly to the state supreme court, without first going through lower courts, got an answer last week: The court won’t take the case.

IMPEACH HERRING EFFORT OFF:

A resolution seeking to impeach Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring because he refused to defend the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying was killed within minutes of its introduction, according to an NBC affiliate in Richmond. According to the station, a spokesperson for House Speaker Bill Howell said late last week that Howell “does not believe impeachment is an appropriate or practical recourse at the moment.”

AbercrombieHAWAII FIGHT HANGS ON:

The Hawaii Family Forum filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday seeking to keep alive a case, Jackson v. Abercrombie, testing the constitutionality of that state’s former ban on same-sex couples marrying. Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie and same-sex couple plaintiffs have argued the Ninth Circuit should dismiss the appeal because the Hawaiian legislature passed a law last year allowing same-sex couples to marry. The Forum, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, says new lawsuits challenging the new marriage equality law could succeed. If they do, says the Forum, then the plaintiffs in Jackson would almost certainly want to re-litigate the issue.

15,500 TRANS SOLDIERS:

The Williams Institute, an LGBT-oriented think tank, issued a report this month estimating there are 15,500 transgender or non-gender conforming people serving in active duty and another 134,300 retired from the U.S. military.  Current military medical policy prohibits transgender people from serving in the military. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC’s This Week program Sunday that he is open to having DOD review its policy banning transgender people from the military, but that it’s a “bit more complicated” than gays because of special medical needs.

TalkingGETTING BEYOND ‘AWKWARD’:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a new website last week to give gay men some tips on how and when to talk with their sexual partners about their HIV status. Among other things, the campaign suggests it’s better to talk “early” –early in the relationship and early in the evening. The talk about HIV status doesn’t have to be face to face; it can also take place through texting or email. The bottom line is to talk about HIV status so both parties can take precautions to avoid the spread of the virus.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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