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Indiana Agrees to Recognize Marriage of Terminally Ill Lesbian

A federal judge yesterday approved an agreement for Indiana to recognize the marriage of two women - one of whom is terminally ill, the Indiana Times reports:

IndianaVeronica Romero and Mayra Yvette Rivera filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court this week asking a judge to order Indiana to recognize their Illinois marriage because Rivera has advanced ovarian cancer.

The couple's lawsuit named Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller; Indiana Health Commissioner William VanNess; and Lake County Clerk Michael A. Brown, who issues marriage licenses.

A joint stipulation was filed Wednesday in which Indiana agreed to recognize the couple's marriage and, in the event of Rivera's death, issue a death certificate listing her as married and recording Romero as the surviving spouse. The Indiana State Department of Health also agreed to assist local health departments, funeral homes, physicians, coroners and others involved in completion of a death certificate to understand their duties in the couple's case.

The case has been stayed while Indiana appeals last week's 7th Circuit ruling overturning its gay marriage ban to the U.S. Supreme Court. 


24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

Voting laws transgender people

Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Indiana and Wisconsin Ask Supreme Court To Review Challenges to Gay Marriage Bans, Plaintiffs Agree

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73e0b48f0970d-250wiAttorneys General from Indiana and Wisconsin filed petitions with the Supreme Court Tuesday, asking the Court to hear each state’s defense of their respective gay marriage bans that were both struck down by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Notably, the 3 panel judge on the 7th Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of equality and against the bans—the first time such a decision was unanimous. The decision was written by Judge Richard Posner, whose pithy quips garnered media attention after he gutted the anti-equality arguments put forth by Indiana and Wisconsin. Now, the Supreme Court will have a chance to review Posner’s ruling. Chris Geidner from BuzzFeed reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcd57649970b-250wiThe petitions are the sixth and seventh petitions seeking a writ of certiorari, which is the technical way the Supreme Court announces that it is taking a case.

Indiana presents a somewhat different case in practical terms — although it has not, thus far, made a difference in the legal analysis — in that the state has no constitutional ban on such marriages. It only has a state law banning them.

Quickly after the states filed their petitions, and as expected, the plaintiffs responded to the two states’ petitions, similarly urging the Supreme Court to grant the writs of certiorari:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511ee26c6970c-200wiLambda Legal and the ACLU, representing the couples in the Indiana case, responded to Indiana’s certiorari petition, stating that the same-sex couples they represent “agree that the Court should grant review in this case because the issue is of fundamental importance to [the couples] and the country as a whole.”

The ACLU, representing the couples in the Wisconsin case, responded to Wisconsin’s petition on Tuesday as well.

Among the arguments put forth by both Indiana and Wisconsin, the most absurd assertion may have been that put forth by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoller who, as Joe.My.God points out, argues,

"The court does not, and cannot, justify the assertion that Indiana’s definition of marriage targets homosexuals. The statue itself makes no mention of sexual orientation, and as the case record in this case amply demonstrates, homosexuals often do marry members of the opposite sex in Indiana.”


Posner-ed at the 7th Circuit: Appellate Court Issues First Unanimous Marriage Equality Decision

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

PosnerIt took 9 days for Judge Richard Posner to write his unanimous opinion striking down the marriage equality bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. And you can see the tone of the decision in one of its more pointed sentences:

Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straight-forward to decide. The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction—that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended—is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.

It wasn't long ago that marriage equality cases were achingly long affairs. Judges would have to pay homage to the deeply held opinions on both sides and recognize that many people vehemently disagree. But to Judge Posner, the cases are straight-forward.

It also wasn't long ago that we were debating whether being gay is an immutable characteristic. Even our progressive allies were not staking out ground on this subject, instead deciding cases without entering the minefield of heightened scrutiny. To Judge Posner, it's a throwaway line.

And it wasn't long ago that conservatives were making the "promiscuous heterosexual" argument to any judge who would listen. To Judge Posner, it doesn't pass the laugh test.

We expected a win at the Seventh Circuit. My colleague and distinguished law professor Dale Carpenter had a similar perspective. But few could have imagined the grand slam Judge Posner penned over the last few days.

A brief summary and analysis follows AFTER THE JUMP...

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Seventh Circuit Rules 3-0 Striking Down Wisconsin and Indiana's Gay Marriage Bans

Seventh

As expected, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 3-0 for the equality side, writing that the governments of Indiana and Wisconsin have given "no reason to think they have a 'reasonable basis' for forbidding same-sex marriage" 

Read the summary and final judgement below.

The Washington Blade reports:

Writing for the majority, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner affirmed lower court decisions that determined state laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide,” Posner writes. “The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction — that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended — is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously. 

Saidopenly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) via press release:

Baldwin“Today’s decision is yet another affirmation that discrimination doesn’t just violate our Wisconsin values – it violates our Constitution and marriage equality will be the law of the land in our state. It is simply wrong for Governor Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen to continue to defend discrimination and with the unanimous rejection of their position by another federal court, it is long past time for them to stop standing in the way of freedom, fairness and equality for all Wisconsinites. Love is love, family is family, and discriminating against anyone’s love, against anyone’s family, is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.  It is now time for us to keep our promise to pass on to the next generation a Wisconsin that is more equal, not less equal.”

We'll have analysis from our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman coming up shortly...stay tuned.

Previously, "7 Moments That Will Make You Want to Gay Marry Judge Richard Posner" [tlrd]


Anti-Equality Forces Get 'the Posner Treatment' at Seventh Circuit Hearing

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Posner, Richard 08-10By now you have heard that the attorneys representing Indiana and Wisconsin got a shellacking from the famous Reagan-appointee, Judge Richard Posner. Sean brought us 7 classic outtakes from Judge Posner's questioning, but even those barely scratch the surface of what it must have been like. As someone who has had the privilege (and dread) of arguing before Judge Posner, as well as admiring him from afar, quoting his work, and disagreeing with some of his scholarship, I can say that this is just Posner being Posner. A brilliant scholar with strong views who's been around a long time, he does not suffer fools, whether those fools are seeking millions of dollars in damages or challenging the constitutionality of a ban on gays marrying. Do not think Judge Posner's obvious frustration with the anti-equality attorneys is evidence of a particular love of marriage equality, something he still calls "homosexual marriage," after all. This is how he would approach anyone who comes to him with a stupid argument.

And that is the greatest take away from the Seventh Circuit marriage equality hearings: the arguments against us are just stupid, and everyone appears to get that.

Let's start with Judge Posner, who seemed to relish the opportunity to inject some sanity into Wisconsin's and Indiana's arguments. He repeatedly said things like, "So you don't have an answer to that?" or "How can you brief it if you don't know anything about it," in response to Wisconsin's inability to support its arguments that heterosexuals would stop marrying if gays could, or "You don't seem to have any reasons" for banning gays from marrying, or, as Sean noted yesterday, "You don't have any sort of empirical or even conjectural basis for your law." Judge Posner followed that one with a little snark: "Funny." Mic drop.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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