Law - Gay, LGBT Hub




Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases

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BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

This article is one in a multipart series leading up to a future Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. The Court has granted review of four marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit and a decision may be handed down at the end of June. Between now and then, Towleroad will break down the cases step by step. Today's topic: The Cases.

Last time, we spoke about the importance of framing the case through the Questions Presented. I argued that despite some concern, the two questions posed in the Supreme Court's order do not indicate that the justices are looking for a way out. They are ready to rule. Before we discuss the substance on which the justices will rule, let's review the four cases that will decide the marriage equality question.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ethics Complaint Filed Against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Over Pledge to Defy Gay Marriage Ruling

Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore really, really dislikes gay marriage. We reported this week on how he's calling for the governor of Alabama to resist "judicial tyranny" and refuse to comply with a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. Well, that call for resistance has inspired the Southern Poverty Law Center to file an ethics complaint against Moore, with SPLC President Richard Cohen saying,

Moore is once again wrapping himself in the Bible and thumbing his nose at the federal courts and federal law. As a private citizen, Moore is entitled to his views. But as the chief justice of Alabama, he has a responsibility to recognize the supremacy of federal law and to conform his conduct to the canons of judicial ethics.

The SPLC article also points out that Moore is not a good student of history, not even his own, as ethics violations a decade ago stemming from his refusal to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building resulted in a lawsuit from the SPLC that culminated in Moore being removed from the bench. He was re-elected to his position in 2012 - because evidently Alabamans would rather have someone who panders to petty beliefs than is dedicated to doing the entirety of his job - but if Moore continues down this path he may once again find himself on the losing end of a lawsuit and once again removed from his job in even more disgrace.

He'd better hope he's not cheating on his wife while he's at it.

In related news, AL.com is reporting that certain campaign ads for Moore's 2012 campaign were created by video production company All Good Creatives - owned by none other than Cari Searcy, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that overturned the state's gay marriage ban. 


Gay Chinese Viral Sensation Suing Former Employer For Homophobic, Wrongful Termination

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Mu Yi inadvertently became something of an internet celebrity last year when he was recorded on camera in the midst of a dispute with another man who is thought to be gay.

In the video Mu and a man in a red hat appeared to be arguing as a Nanshan police officer mediated the dispute. Mu, who headed the sales department of a Chinese design company, is now claiming that being in that video effectively outed him against his will and gave his employer reason to fire him.

"During that time (when the video went viral) I was a total wreck. I couldn't go out. I couldn't answer the phone. I even lost my job," Mu explained. "I was the victim to begin with, it doesn't make any sense for my company [to punish me.]”

Now Mu is suing his former employer with what his attorney describes as the first sexual-orientation discrimination lawsuit to be filed in China. Though homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and the Ministry of Health removed it from its list of mental illnesses in 2001, there are few legal protections in place for LGBT individuals.

Re-watch the video that first sparked Mu's controversy AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "Gay Chinese Viral Sensation Suing Former Employer For Homophobic, Wrongful Termination" »


Marriage at the Supreme Court 2.0: Framing the Debate

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BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

This article is one in a multipart series leading up to a future Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. The Court has granted review of four marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit and a decision may be handed down at the end of June. Between now and then, Towleroad will break down the cases step by step. Today's topic: The Questions Presented.

Let's start at the very beginning. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear four marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit, it issued an order that included two legal questions for the parties to answer. 

1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?

These are called "questions presented," and they frame the discussion in the parties' briefs and at oral argument. Petitions for writs of certioari at the Court have to include questions presented: they are the hooks that tell the justices that there is a live legal question of great importance that they must address. That said, the justices can adopt these questions, alter them, add or subtract from them, or deviate from them in any way.

This has led to quite a bit of chatter about what these particular questions mean for the argument. Adam Liptak of the New York Times suggested that the Court included Question 2 as a way to avoid a broad, nationwide pro-equality holding. It's a neat conjecture, one that is sure to keep the press abuzz. However, there are exactly zero reasons to believe Mr. Liptak is correct. Nothing nefarious or sneaky is going on. The Court is ready to rule on the freedom to marry. This is evident both from the questions presented and the Court's actions over the last several months.

I explain, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Irish Government to Ban Religious-Run Schools and Hospitals From Discriminating Against Gays: VIDEO

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Ireland’s Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (below right) has confirmed that religious-run schools and hospitals will by Easter be prevented from firing staff for being gay, divorced or an unmarried parent, reports The Examiner.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6dd61ae970b-800wiMoves to change the discriminatory law were announced by the Irish government last June.

According to Ó Ríordáin, as the law currently stands gay teachers can be fired under Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act.

The minister told The Examiner:

“They can be sacked, technically, if a board manager felt that someone was actively undermining the ethos of their school by their private life.

“It has a chilling effect when people feel they can’t be themselves. In the staff room they have to hide their private lives; they have to hide the fact that they’re gay, or that they are divorced, or in a second relationship, or that they’re an unmarried parent.”

He also accused former Justice Minister Alan Shatter of dragging his feet over the reform when he was in office.

However, opposition senator Averil Power, whose 2012 bill to ban discrimination under Section 37 was blocked by Government, said:

“I’ll believe it when I see it. The Bill that Labour brought out last year kept in discrimination - it just moved the onus on to employers to be able to justify that discrimination.”

VaradkarAiming to end another discriminatory practice, Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who last week came out as gay, has since referred recommendations to revise restrictions on gay men donating blood. Varadkar is the first openly gay cabinet member in Irish government history.

Listen to Varadkar coming out on live radio, AFTER THE JUMP...

Ireland will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage in May.

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HRC and NCLR File Brief Supporting Denial of Saks Fifth Avenue's Motion to Dismiss Trans Discrimination Lawsuit

Saks Fifth Avenue

In the ongoing case of Saks Fifth Avenue claiming that it has the right to discriminate against transgender employees, the Human Rights Campaign and National Center for Lesbian Rights have followed up the formal refutation of Saks' motion to dismiss the case by filing an amici curiae brief to further deny Saks' motion to dismiss. It is a dense and thorough read, but the heart of it is this:

JamalAmici agree with Plaintiff that SAKS’ motion to dismiss ignores a host of case law and the conclusions of the EEOC and Department of Justice, all of which firmly establish that harassment or discrimination against a transgender person, whether for having transitioned their sex or for not conforming to gender-based stereotypes, constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII. Therefore, taking all the factual allegations of the complaint as true, as the Court must at this stage, the motion to dismiss should be denied.

Saks has not made any response as of the writing of this post.

Read the brief below:


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