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Lesbian Veteran Files Lawsuit To Be Buried With Late Wife in Military Cemetery: VIDEO

Taylor

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of military veteran Madelynn Lee Taylor to grant her burial rights in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery where her late spouse Jean Mixner’s ashes have already been laid to rest.

Cemetery employees denied Taylor’s request last year because Idaho state law prohibits recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.

In a statement, Taylor said “Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean."

The lawsuit argues that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

On May 13th, U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale struck down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage.

However, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has placed a stay on the ruling following an appeal from Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

Arguments in the case are set for September 8.

Read Taylor's 15-page lawsuit here.

Watch Taylor's story, which we posted last April, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Lesbian Veteran Files Lawsuit To Be Buried With Late Wife in Military Cemetery: VIDEO" »


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.


Tuesday Speed Read: Mississippi, Idaho, GOProud, Bayer, Mary Bonauto, Carl DeMaio

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

McdanielHOW LOW CAN THEY GO? 

Incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign for his record on LGBT related issues. But in today’s primary, the Family Research Council announced its endorsement over the weekend for Cochran’s challenger, Mississippi State Tea Party Senator Chris McDaniel, citing McDaniel’s strong stance against same-sex couples marrying. Seems zero wasn’t good enough.

ANOTHER REQUEST TO LEAP FROG:

NinthcircuitIdaho filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit May 30, asking to skip over the three-judge panel phase of appeal in defense of its state ban on same-sex couples marrying. Less than two months ago, the Sixth Circuit refused Michigan’s request to do the same. But Idaho says the intra-circuit conflict over the proper level of judicial scrutiny to apply when evaluating laws that affect LGBT people adversely is a question of “exceptional importance.” Even more important, it argues, is the conflict over laws banning same-sex couples from marrying. Americans “understandably want the Marriage Issue resolved now,” states the brief. The Ninth Circuit is one of five circuits with active cases before them concerning statewide bans; only two –the Fourth and Tenth— have heard arguments before a three-judge panel.

GoproudGOPROUD CONSIDERS REORGANIZATION:

The gay conservative group GOProud reacted to rumors Monday that it was “shutting down.” Not so, said Matthew Bechstein, the group’s new executive director, in a press release. Bechstein said the group, which recently saw its founding members abandon ship, is considering reorganization to a “different legal type of organization.” “But if it were to actually happen,” said Bechstein, “it would only be momentary and certainly not the end of our organization.”

BayerGLAD SUES BAYER:

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders announced Monday that it filed suit in federal court last month in Connecticut against the company that produces Bayer aspirin. The lawsuit, Passaro v. Bayer, was brought on behalf of Gerald Passaro, whose husband was a chemist at Bayer until his death in 2009. Bayer initially refused to pay Passaro the survivor benefit, saying that, under the Defense of Marriage Act, it had no obligation to. But after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA last June, the company continued to refuse to pay the benefit, governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

BonautoNOTABLE QUOTE:

GLAD civil rights director Mary Bonauto in USA Today article about the string of federal court victories striking down bans on same-sex couples marrying: “We're at a point where it would be shocking if the Supreme Court said it was permissible to deny marriage licenses to gay couples."

GILL FUNDING PARK SERVICE STUDY:

The Gill Foundation is providing $250,000 to fund the LGBT historic places study announced by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell last Friday. The National Park Service will host a meeting in Washington, D.C., June 10 “to develop a framework and focus for the LGBT theme study with a group of more than a dozen of the nation’s most respected researchers and preservationists who have expertise on LGBT history and culture.”

DemaioDEMAIO’S OFFICE VANDALIZED:

Campaign staff for gay Republican Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio found their San Diego office vandalized last week. A campaign spokesperson told Associated Press that staff believe it is related to DeMaio’s efforts to curb pension costs.

AIDS LISTENING:

The White House Office of National AIDS Policy last Thursday hosted the first of three public “listening sessions” in southern states. The Office’s new director, Douglas Brooks, is leading the sessions, which started in Jackson, Mississippi. The next sessions are slated for Columbia, S.C., today and Atlanta, June 5. RSVP.

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


Idaho Governor Requests 'En Banc' 9th Circuit Hearing of Gay Marriage Ruling

Idaho Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter has requested that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals take up the appeal of the state's gay marriage case with a full 11-judge panel rather than just three judges.

OtterEquality on Trial reports:

An initial en banc hearing in that case, the filing suggested, would allow the Ninth Circuit to have a circuit-wide, binding decision on the issue of same-sex marriage, as well as the issue of the level of judicial scrutiny that should be applied to laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

The state’s filing notes that the Ninth Circuit has already fast-tracked the Idaho case, as well as a similar challenge from Nevada. The state argues that the appeals court’s resolution of same-sex marriage “will carry profound legal and broader social consequences for all people within the Ninth Circuit,” and that “a decision by an eleven-judge panel stands far higher and stronger than does a decision by a three-judge panel — just as a decision by a three-judge panel stands far higher and stronger than does a decision by a single judge.”

The state also points to the ongoing dispute in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories as a reason for the Ninth Circuit to resolve the scrutiny issue in the Idaho case. In the SmithKline case, a Ninth Circuit judge called for a vote on whether to rehear that case with an en banc panel.

More at Equality on Trial.

View the brief here.


'Little Bitch Otter' Beer Takes Shot at Idaho Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter, Supports Gay Rights

Littlebitchotter

An Idaho brewery is taking aim at Idaho Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter with a new India brown ale which it is marketing ass "Little Bitch Otter", Boise Public Radio reports:

OtterThe logo, made by Crooked Fence Brewing co-owner and marketing director Kelly Knopp, features an otter wearing a tie and cowboy hat.

"Anyone that is going to try to take away freedoms or not let someone be equal, Crooked Fence is against," says Knopp.

The beer is launching on Thursday at Pre Funk in downtown Boise. BPR adds:

Brewing co-owner and marketing director Kelly Knopp says a portion of Thursday's sales will go directly to Add the Words Idaho, and the Pride Foundation.

Add the Words Idaho co-chairperson Mistie Tolman says her organization is an all-volunteer group working to add "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the state's human rights act. "We decided to put those proceeds to good use, to further equality in the state," says Tolman. "We’ll keep working hard to try and achieve equality."

Governor Otter is appealing the recent ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban to the Ninth Circuit, which has stayed the ruling and promised to expedite the appeal.


Friday Speed Read: Montana, Gallup on Marriage, Scott Peters, Pocatello, Porterville

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Ben_ChaseLAWSUIT COMES TO MONTANA:

The ACLU on Thursday filed a lawsuit in federal court in Montana, challenging that state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. That leaves only two states (North and South Dakotas) that don’t have a federal lawsuit pending against their state ban. In the Montana suit, Rolando v. Fox, three of the four plaintiff couples have obtained marriage licenses in other states. Democratic Governor Steve Bullock issued a statement Thursday, saying, “The time has come for our state to recognize and celebrate – not discriminate against – two people who love one another, are committed to each other, and want to spend their lives together.”

SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE ‘SOLIDIFIED’:

GallupA new Gallup poll, released Wednesday, says that support for allowing same-sex couples to marry has “solidified above the majority level.” The poll of 1,028 adults nationwide between May 8 and 11 found 55 percent believe same-sex marriages should be “recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.” Forty-two percent said “not valid.” “When Gallup first asked Americans this question about same-sex marriage in 1996, 68% were opposed to recognizing marriage between two men or two women, with slightly more than a quarter supporting it (27%),” noted the polling group. “Since then, support has steadily grown, reaching 42% by 2004 when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize it -- a milestone that reached its 10th anniversary this month.”

PetersDRAWING ENDA AS THE LINE IN THE SAND:

A group of LGBT leaders in San Diego issued an open letter Wednesday, supporting a push for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and a vote for U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, the Democratic incumbent representing San Diego (Congressional District 52). Peters supports ENDA, and his openly gay Republican challenger Carl DeMaio has appeared less passionate about it. In November, according to examiner.com, DeMaio told a San Diego State University audience that he supports ENDA but doesn’t think Congress should legislate “social issues.” The May 22 letter, signed by California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, and others states, “Those seeking to support true equality and represent our community must be leaders, and public support and advocacy for this critical civil rights legislation should be the minimum we expect.”

SMALL TOWN FRIENDLY:

Voters in Pocatello, Idaho, voted down a measure Tuesday that was aimed at ending the town’s policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation. According to the Idaho State Journal, the vote was “razor thin.” Out of 9,623 votes cast, the margin of victory was 147 votes.

SMALL TOWN BULLIES: Hamilton

The Porterville City Council meeting attracted a crowd Monday, as many members of the public showed up to express their anger at Mayor Cam Hamilton’s remark last week that child victims of bullying should just “grow a pair” rather than ask for help from the council. The Porterville Recorder said Hamilton walked during the public comment session, to do an interview with CNN. In the CNN interview, he said he wished his remarks had been a “little less colorful,” but he said a proposal to create “safe zones” in schools doesn’t help victims once they leave the safe zones. He said kids need to learn how to “stand up for themselves,” but conceded society should also stand up to bullies. “If in fact we see somebody who is being harassed or is being bullied, we as a society –be it out in the city or in the school itself – have the ability to stand up for the person who is being bullied and just tell the bully, ‘We’re not going to put up with this.’”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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