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8th Circuit Defers Arguments on Marriage Cases from SD, AR, MO, and NE Pending SCOTUS Decision

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals says it is deferring arguments on four same-sex marriage cases until SCOTUS rules, KDLT reports:

NewvilleThe court announced Wednesday that it's holding off on "any further consideration" of the cases from South Dakota, Arkansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Arguments were scheduled to begin on May 12 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Employment and Civil Rights Attorney Joshua Newville, who is representing clients from South Dakota is pissed that the court held off this decision for so long.

Wrote Newville in a press release:

We have just been informed that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is canceling the marriage equality arguments scheduled for May 12 in light of yesterday's arguments at the Supreme Court. Given that the 8th Circuit knew all along that the Supreme Court arguments were scheduled for yesterday, we're not certain why the Court has proceeded in the manner that it has. Many of my clients, as well as their family, friends, and supporters, spent money on hotels, flights, etc. I also put many hours into preparing for the argument after the Court denied multiple motions to stay the proceedings pending the Supreme Court arguments.

Newville adds:

This process has been a painful one for my clients, and the Court's action today adds to the roller-coaster they've been forced to endure. Despite a South Dakota district court victory nearly five months ago, families across the state still suffer daily harm and humiliation as they are denied basic equal rights and dignity. Despite winning their case and showing that they were deprived a basic fundamental right, they've had that victory put on hold -- the courts effectively telling them that their rights take a back seat to a very lengthy and convoluted appeals process.

When the Supreme Court denied Alabama's request to stay the district court judgment pending appeal, it did so after it granted review to the 6th Circuit cases heard yesterday. In doing so, the Supreme Court made clear that same-sex couples and their children should not have to wait another day to be treated with basic dignity and respect. Thus, while I am optimistic about the outcome of yesterday's arguments at the Supreme Court, I am beyond troubled by the fact that loving and committed couples in South Dakota and North Dakota are denied equality while similarly situated couples in states like Florida and Alabama have marriage equality pending appeals in those states.

Similarly, my clients in North Dakota had their case fully briefed and presented to the district court there in early September 2014. For over four months, that court did nothing with the case. Then, in January, the Supreme Court granted review in the 6th Circuit cases and the district court in North Dakota put the case on hold.


HRC Warns 12 States ‘Don’t Repeat The Mistakes Of Indiana' In New Media Campaign

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The Human Rights Coalition launched a new ad campaign asking 12 state governors to reject bills that target LGBT people like the one Gov. Mike Pence passed in Indiana. HRC's new campaign comes after a study conducted by the organization yielded results stating that a majority of Hoosiers believe Pence’s bill is damaging Indiana’s economy. JoDee Winterhof, HRC's vice president for policy and political affairs, warned of the repercussions states could endure if they follow Pence’s example.

Said Winterhof:

"Gov. Mike Pence found that experimenting with anti-LGBT bills that allow businesses to discriminate killed his approval ratings and damaged the Hoosier economy. Governors who go down the same path as Mike Pence and put their state economy at risk in an attempt to further discrimination are going to find themselves at risk of being rejected by the voters."

The results of HRC's study reflects Winterhof's warning as a majority of voters (70% to 24%) believe that businesses should not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or identity. Surprisingly a majority of Republican voters (58% to 36%) concur. Pence’s approval ratings have since plummeted, allowing for a potential Democratic challenger to make gains in the state. HRC's media campaign officially began today on social media in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Although Pence attempted to clarify that official language in the new law would prevent LGBT discrimination, HRC isn’t buying it, noting that the state’s laws are still devoid of any clear LGBT anti-discrimination laws that would grant full protections to LGBT people in the state.


GOP Introduces Resolution To Kill Anti-LGBT Discrimination Ban In D.C. Religious Schools: VIDEO

Vicky_Hartzler

A GOP representative has introduced a resolution in the U.S. House calling on Congress to kill a bill passed by the Washington, D.C. City Council that would ban discrimination against LGBT students in religious schools, reports the Washington Blade.

220px-Mark_Meadows,_Official_Portrait,_113th_CongressThe resolution presented by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) was co-sponsored by Reps. Bill Flores (R-Tex.) and Values Voter Summit attendee Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) (right).

In a statement issued Wednesday explaining her opposition to the D.C. Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, Hartzler - who has compared same-sex marriage to polygamy, incest and pedophilia - said:

“By passing this act, the D.C. City Council has infringed on the fundamental right of religious freedom. No faith-based school should be forced to endorse, fund, or sponsor groups that do not share their beliefs.”

The 2014 legislation calls for repealing a provision in the 1989 D.C. Human Rights Act exempting religious schools from having to comply with the Human Rights Act’s ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Hartzler has also introduced a resolution seeking to kill the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act which would ban employers from discriminating based on their personal reproductive health decisions.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has scheduled a markup hearing to finalize the second resolution. It is not yet known if the committee intends to markup Hartzler’s resolution targeting the Human Rights Amendment Act during that same hearing.

Hartzler opponents said the resolutions are unlikely to pass. Instead, she aims to gain support for the ultimate goal which is to kill both bills by persuading Congress to attach an amendment to the D.C. appropriations bill blocking the city from implementing the two measures.

In 2011, Hartzler told a gay med student that he "shouldn't feel bad" about a constitutional amendment she helped pass banning same-sex marriage in Missouri because gays were already banned from marrying by statute.

Watch her try to explain her opposition to same-sex marriage to the student in question, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "GOP Introduces Resolution To Kill Anti-LGBT Discrimination Ban In D.C. Religious Schools: VIDEO" »


Springfield, Missouri Voters Repeal LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Voters in Springfield, Missouri today repealed protections for LGBT citizens which were added by the City Council to the city's non-discrimination ordinance last October, KY3 reports:

SpringfieldWith all the votes tallied, about 51.4 percent of the voters on Tuesday said they wanted to repeal the City Council's action, while 48.6 percent wanted to retain it.  The raw numbers are 15,347 people voted "yes" to repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance and 14,493 people voted "no" to keep it on the books.

For a brief time on Tuesday night, when about 60 percent of the precincts were counted, the "no repeal" votes had a slim lead over the "yes, repeal" votes.  As more precincts were counted, however, the "yes" votes went back on top.

KY3 adds:

The "yes, repeal" supporters said the amendment means transgender women (men who feel like women or are transitioning to women) have permission to use restrooms of women and girls.  They also said it would have violated the rights of conservative Christians who oppose the lifestyles of gay men and lesbian women, and don't want to serve them in their businesses.


Missouri GOP Attempting to Pass Indiana-Style 'Religious Freedom' Bill for Public Universities

Missouri

A bill that would prohibit public universities from enforcing campus non-discrimination ordinances and taking action against religious student groups that discriminate against LGBT individuals is currently making its way through the Missouri Legislature.

HB 104, titled the Student Freedom of Association Act, passed out of the Missouri House back in March and is currently awaiting a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee next Tuesday.

Missouri's ABC 17 reports:

HaahrIt is sponsored by Rep Elijah Haahr, who says it would protect the right of students to exercise their religious beliefs and prevent public universities from discriminating against religious student organizations.

The LGBTQ community said it is a bill that would encourage discrimination - not freedom.

"Indiana has gone down the wrong path when it comes to protecting LGBT people. It is hurting their economy. It is hurting their community members. And that same impact will exist for students on college campuses in Missouri who are already a sensitive population to begin with and that same discrimination is going to happen on campuses if those two bills pass," said Sarah Rossi, from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri. [...]

"We are the ACLU. We are in full support of freedom of religion. We are in full support of religious expression that is protected by the First Amendment. But religion should not be used as an excuse or a legal protection to discriminate against a group of people," said Rossi.

Rossi said while LGBTQ is not written in either Indiana or Missouri's bills, it is clear it discriminates against the LGBTQ community because other minority groups are already protected under state law.

Progress Missouri and the ACLU of Missouri are calling on supporters of LGBT rights to contact the state's Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote NO on the bill. 

ACT NOW: Representative Elijah Haahr's HB 104 will give public funds to religious student groups who discriminate...

Posted by ACLU of Missouri on Friday, April 3, 2015

Gay Couples In Missouri, South Dakota Ask Judges To Allow Same-Sex Marriages Immediately

MarriageMap

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to halt same-sex marriages in Alabama, gay couples in two other states are asking federal judges to allow them tie the knot immediately.

Attorneys for same-sex couples in Missouri and South Dakota filed motions this week asking federal courts to lift stays on decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans. 

Both motions note that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly denied motions to stay lower court decisions striking down marriage bans, most recently in Alabama. 

From the South Dakota motion: 

"Here, while the Defendants have not shown that South Dakota would suffer any harm in the absence of a stay, the challenged laws are continuing to cause serious and irreparable harm to Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples and their children every day that the bans remain in effect. In addition, the stay on judgment is causing continued insecurity, vulnerability, and stigma. The purpose of marriage is, in large part, to provide security and protection in the face of anticipated and unanticipated hardships and crises—e.g., in the face of death, aging, illness, accidents, incapacity, and the vicissitudes of life. Indeed, Plaintiffs in the case have dealt with such issues during the pendency of this litigation. This harm is not speculative, but immediate and real."

The South Dakota motion was filed in the same federal district court where Judge Karen Schreier struck down the state's marriage ban last month. 

The Missouri motion was filed in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering the state's appeal of a decision striking down the marriage ban. The 8th Circuit agreed to expedite the appeal last month but declined to lift the stay. Same-sex couples can already marry in St. Louis thanks to a state circuit judge's ruling striking down the marriage ban. 

Elsewhere, the 4th Circuit placed on hold appeals of a federal district judge's decision striking down North Carolina's marriage ban, pending the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of marriage cases from four other states

Read the Missouri and South Dakota motions, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Gay Couples In Missouri, South Dakota Ask Judges To Allow Same-Sex Marriages Immediately" »


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