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Federal Appeals Court to Hear Gay Marriage Challenges from MI, OH, KY, and TN on August 6

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled hearings for five marriage cases in four states on August 6, the Washington Blade reports:

LmcIn four separate notices on Monday, the Sixth Circuit, which is located in Cincinnati, announced that arguments for the cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee will take place on August 6 at 1 pm.

James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT project, said his organization welcomes the developments for each of the cases. His organization is assisting with litigation in the Ohio case.

“We’re happy to see the Circuit taking up this issue so quickly,” Esseks said. “All the cases together reinforce how sweeping and widespread are the harms that come from the marriage bans.”

Every case seeks same-sex marriage recognition rights of some sort, except the case from Michigan, which seeks to win the freedom for gay couples to marry in the state.

According to Equality on Trial:

Michigan: Arguments in DeBoer v. Snyder will be one hour, with 30 minutes per side.

Ohio: Arguments in Henry v. Himes and Obergefell v. Himes will be one hour, with 30 minutes per side.

Kentucky: Arguments in Bourke v. Beshear will be 30 minutes, 15 minutes per side.

Tennessee: Arguments in Tanco v. Haslam will be 30 minutes, 15 minutes per side.

In related news, DOMA attorney Roberta Kaplan had filed a motion to intervene in the Ohio case but she has been denied:

According to the eight-page notice handed down from the court, Kaplan was denied the ability to participate because the cases is too far advanced at this point.

The state of Ohio and the ACLU had objected to Kaplan's motion to intervene.


Monday Speed Read: Arkansas, Scorecard, Ohio, Kentucky, Michael Sam

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PiazzaARKANSAS GOES DOWN:

A county circuit court judge in Arkansas on Friday ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and does not “advance any conceivable legitimate state interest necessary to support even a rational basis review.” Wright v. Arkansas was filed on behalf of 20 same-sex couples –some who sought to marry in Arkansas and some who sought to have their out-of-state marriages recognized there. Judge Chris Piazza noted that the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s law prohibiting private consensual sodomy one hear before the U.S. Supreme Court did so. And, he concluded, “It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.”

2_arkansasFIRST MARRIAGES IN ARKANSAS:

Because Judge Chris Piazza did not put a stay on his May 9 decision, same-sex couples began applying Saturday morning for marriage licenses. The first was granted in Eureka Springs to a young lesbian couple. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported couples from as far away as Texas and Oklahoma drove to Eureka to get married. It estimated 100 people were lined up when the office opened at 9 Saturday morning. The state’s attorney general, although he has said he supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, has indicated he will defend the laws on appeal and ask for a stay.

SCORECARD ON VICTORIES:

Not counting Arkansas yet, there are currently 17 states and the District of Columbia with laws that provide for marriage equality. Another nine states have had courts strike down their laws banning same-sex marriage. Eight of the nine are on appeal before federal appeals courts. Only cases for two states have been argued at the appeals level –both before the Tenth Circuit. Tomorrow, a case from Virginia will be argued before the Fourth Circuit. A case from a 10th state, Hawaii, is still pending before the Ninth Circuit which has asked for briefs by early June on why the case should not be considered moot. Hawaii’s legislature passed a bill last year, eliminating its ban on same-sex marriages.

OHIO APPEALS AS EXPECTED:

The Ohio attorney general filed a notice of appeal Friday with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asking the court to overturn a district court decision that ordered Ohio to recognize marriage licenses for same-sex couples from other states.

BeshearDIFFERENTLY SITUATED:

The Kentucky governor filed a brief May 7, asking the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In the brief for in Bourke v. Beshear, Kentucky argues that same-sex couples who want to marry are not “similarly situated” as man-woman couples who want to marry, but are “materially different.”

ST. LOUIS DRAFTS MICHAEL SAM:

Openly gay college football star Michael Sam became the first openly gay pro football player Saturday when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the last round of picks. Sam chose to come out at one of the most vulnerable times in his career –just as he was finishing up his stint at the University of Missouri and just before the National Football League’s annual draft. NBC News noted that, by staying in Missouri, Sam’s new team “ensured that he’ll be in front of a supportive fan base.”

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


Pro-Marriage Equality Kentucky AG Jack Conway Announces Bid for Governor

Jack conwayKentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who made headlines in March when he tearfully announced he wouldn’t defend his state’s gay marriage ban in an appeal of a federal court’s ruling, has thrown his hat into the 2015 governor’s race.

In an interview with the AP, Conway said he isn't concerned that his pro-equality stance may hurt his chances in the conservative state. As public opinion continues to shift in favor of gay marriage, Conway said Kentucky voters will tire of rehashing the debate come November 2015.

"I think in the fall of 2015 that will not be the big issue," he said. "I think the voters will be more interested in building Kentucky's future than in reliving all of that."

Conway’s refusal to defend the ban led to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear hiring private attorneys to appeal the gay marriage ruling. Yesterday, those attorneys filed an 'offensive' brief arguing that the state’s ban should be maintained because gay marriage threatens birth rates, and thus economic competitiveness, in Kentucky. 


Kentucky Print Shop Removes 'No Gays' Sticker, Doesn't Want Gays Flaunting 'Homosexual Lifestyle'

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Guess who doesn't want your business, gays? Herald Embroidery in Oak Grove, Kentucky — that's who.

Matthew Lombard — owner of the embroidery, promotions and printing shop — has place five stickers on his storefront signifiying that they will gladly accept business from Christians, guns, and people with beards (?) but not from people who use foul language and are proudly gay.

Here's Lombard explanation:

"We recently posted five 3" stickers on the front entrance to our shop. Two of these stickers are negative and prohibitive in there message. We will not serve people that are foul-mouthed, nor will we serve people that flaunt their homosexual lifestyle in our place of business and/or request us to produce promotional products that do so."

Less than 24 hours after news of Lombard's hate-sticker spread over the web, he removed all of the stickers and issued a kinda-sorta retraction:

Notice: We recently posted five 3″ stickers on the front entrance to our shop. Two of these stickers are negative and prohibitive in their message. After some public confusion as to the meaning of one which depicted a rainbow flag, we’ve replaced them with a clarification. "While we will serve all customers who treat our place of business with respect, we reserve the right to refuse to produce promotional products that promote ideas that are not in keeping with our consciences. This includes, but is not limited to content promoting homosexuality, freemasonry, the use of foul language, and imagery which promotes immodesty."

Riiiiiight. We called Lombard and asked him what the hell the beard and gun stickers meant. He said that they were meant to be "sort of playful." 


University of Kentucky Asks Gay Students If They’d Prefer to Be Straight

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 1.33.06 PM

University of Kentucky's student health services department is facing criticism for a campus-wide survey sent via email that included uncomfortable and intrusive questions about sexual orientation, including asking gay students if they would "choose to be straight" if given the option. 

Campus Reform reports:

UkStudents who identified as LGBT early on in the survey were presented with a unique list of statements to agree or disagree with, including “If it were possible, I would choose to be straight.”

Students who claimed to be heterosexual were presented with a different set of statements, including “Homosexuality is a sin,” “Male homosexuality is a perversion,” and "Homosexuality is a mental illness."

The survey fails to promise any sort of reassurance of confidentiality, but Jay Blanton, a spokesperson for the university, told Campus Reform the survey was indeed classified. […]

“Yes, this survey was distributed to students by our University Health Service enrolled this semester,” he said. “The intent of the survey was to understand better the utilization of university health services on the part LGBT students."

Via Back to Stonewall.


Former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent Explains Why She Came Out As 'Queer' - AUDIO

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This March, former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent came out of the closet after a federal judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

In a recent interview with Michelangelo Signorile, she explained why she came out as “queer” as opposed to “gay”:

”I think it’s one of those words that doesn’t put you in such a box… If you choose other labels, sometimes you feel like you’re in a bit of a box.

”My favorite example, that I always love to use, is that girls I went to college with, who ran all around campus waving rainbow flags -- they were like, ‘Lesbian for life! Yeah, forever!’ And now, how ever many years later, I’m seeing them on Facebook and they’re like, ‘He proposed, and I said, “yes!”’ And I’m looking, like, ‘What?!’

”So I think that 'queer' is one of those things that, it is more inclusive. It kind of opens to a whole other conversation about the fluidity of sexuality and being able to embrace that. Because I mean that’s the basic reason you see women who are hardcore lesbians one year and the next year they’re married to their husbands with three kids.”

The Huffington Post continues her explanation:

"When I originally wrote the blog, I wrote, ‘I am gay... And then, I went back and I looked at it and I decided I wanted to change it. I wanted to put ‘queer' there, because it’s a word that I like. I feel that a lot of people outside the LGBTQ community don’t know it’s a thing, that it’s okay.”

Trent has since become an honorary co-chair of Southerners For the Freedom to Marry.  

Hear her explanation AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent Explains Why She Came Out As 'Queer' - AUDIO" »


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