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Nevada Hub



04/19/2007


Monday Speed Read: Ohio Marriage, Nevada GOP, Tammy Baldwin, Mark Takano, Kyrsten Sinema

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

OhioOHIO DECISION EXPECTED TODAY:

Today is the self-imposed deadline a federal judge in Cincinnati set for issuing a formal ruling that Ohio’s ban on same-sex couples marrying is unconstitutional. State Attorney General Mike DeWine has already indicated he will appeal the decision and is expected to seek an emergency stay to block its enforcement.

NEVADA GOP STAKES BIGGER TENT:

The Republican Party of Nevada, at its annual convention Saturday, overwhelmingly voted for a platform that removes previous language defining marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Ed Williams, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Nevada and a delegate at the convention, said the state party “has made it clear that they want a 'bigger tent' and has welcomed us into it." National Log Cabin Executive Director Gregory Angelo praised the Nevada Log Cabin chapter for making a “critical difference pushing the GOP toward the right side of history.”

BaldwinLET US EAT BOLOGNA!

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is taking a lead in defending the right of U.S. meat, cheese, and beer producers to call their products what they want. Baldwin, joined by more than 40 of her Senate colleagues, sent a letter April 4 to the USDA and the U.S. Trade Representatives, saying the European Union is attempting to impair U.S. competition with these products by prohibiting the U.S. versions from being identified by such common names as bratwurst, bologna, Octoberfest, feta, and parmesan. The EU says the names are indicative of a geographically specific product. But Baldwin is pushing back. “If the United States were to be subjected to a ban of these traditional names for various products,” she wrote, “consumers may be confused and Wisconsin dairy farmers, meat producers and beer brewers could suffer.”

TakanoTAKANO STAGES ‘INTERVENTION’:

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) staged a mock intervention on the U.S. House floor April 2. He said he wanted to help House Republicans overcome their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act. “To my Republican friends, I want to say, this is a safe place. We are here to help. Your addiction to repealing Obamacare and peddling conspiracy theories about the law are not doing any good – for yourselves or for the American people. Stop standing on the wrong side of history….Let’s move on!”

SinemaSINEMA’S ON THE RUN IN BOSTON:

Bisexual U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who in November became the first active member of Congress ever to complete an Ironman competition, is registered to run next Monday in the Boston Marathon. Sinema posted a message on Twitter Sunday indicating she was running to honor survivors of last year’s bombing at the finish line.

FACING THE NATION:

CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer sounded somewhat fatigued by the subject matter Sunday when asked Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry group, “So, now it’s gay rights. Is that the next chapter of the civil rights…uh…struggle that’s been going on for so long?” “I wouldn’t call it the next chapter,” said Wolfson, “I think it’s part of the same struggle. I think that what the struggle ... that the civil rights movement did so much to lay the foundation for… was to create an America that’s a more perfect union for everybody. And gay people are part of that everybody. But as we’ve just all heard and said, we’re not done with any of these fights on any of these fronts that overlap anyway. My blood boils when I see voter suppression and the assault on women’s access to contraception…. Civil rights is about the America we want for everybody.”

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


Nevada Republican Party Drops Opposition to Gay Marriage, Abortion from Party Platform

The Nevada Republican Party, "amid raucous debate" according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, voted to drop opposition to gay marriage and abortion from the party platform:

McdonaldState party Chairman Michael McDonald (pictured) said it was a successful convention at the end of the day.

“I think it was about inclusion, not exclusion,” McDonald said, referring to the platform. “This is where the party is going.”

Republicans who sat on the platform committee said they decided not to deal with social issues this year because the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have weighed in and it doesn’t make sense for the party of “personal freedom” to have the government or the political party get involved in people’s personal lives.

“The issue was how can we back out of people’s personal lives,” said Dave Hockaday of Lyon County, who sat on the platform committee. “We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact.”

Previously, the state party platform defined marriage as “between a man and a woman,” as does the Nevada Constitution. The past document also described the party as “pro-life,” or against abortion, a stance most Republicans still agree with.

Log Cabin Republicans praised the decision.

Said Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo:

"Once again, our local Log Cabin Republicans members have made a critical difference pushing the GOP toward the right side of history by going where others fear to tread -- or cannot tread because of their party affiliation. The Republican Party is at a crossroads: in a year where the Massachusetts GOP rolled back the clock and added divisive social issues to its platform, the state Republican Party responsible for nominating Sharron Angle in 2010 seems to have finally learned to focus on the issues that truly matter to voters, which will lead to massive Republican wins at the ballot box this fall."


Federal Appeals Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Case Challenging Nevada Gay Marriage Ban on April 9

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has set April 9, 2014 for oral arguments in Sevcik v. Sandoval, the lasuit challenging Nevada's ban on gay marriage, Lambda Legal reports via press release:

Nevada“This is great news for our couples who have been working so long to have their case heard. We’re very excited to make the case for equality at the Ninth Circuit.”

Last month, Gov. Sandoval and  Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover withdrew their arguments in support of the marriage ban after the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories that discriminatory classifications based upon sexual orientation must receive heightened scrutiny and should be presumed unconstitutional. The heightened scrutiny standard is much more difficult to meet and rendered the state of Nevada’s arguments in its original brief defending the marriage ban “no longer tenable in the Ninth Circuit,” as Nevada’s Attorney General conceded in a statement released last week. The withdrawal of the two government defendants leaves only the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which the U.S. District Court had allowed to intervene, defending the marriage ban.

In Sevcik v. Sandoval, Lambda Legal, joined by pro bono co-counsel from O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Snell & Wilmer LLP, represents eight same-sex couples challenging Nevada’s law banning marriage for same-sex couples. The lawsuit argues that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. A U.S. District Court judge granted Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit in November 2012, and Lambda Legal appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit. The State submitted its brief supporting the marriage ban to the Ninth Circuit on the same day as the Court’s ruling in SmithKline.

UPDATE from Lambda Legal:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this afternoon updated its calendar for April 9, 2014 and has removed Sevcik v. Sandoval from the calendar for that date. Oral argument of the appeal will be rescheduled, but no new date has yet been set.


Court Grants Expedited Hearing, Allows Withdrawal of State's Defense in Challenge to Nevada Gay Marriage Ban

A federal appeals court has granted the Nevada Governor and Attorney General's request to withdraw a brief defending the state's ban on gay marriage and granted an expedited hearing in the case, Lambda Legal reports:

SandovalThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today granted Lambda Legal's request to expedite the hearing of Sevcik v. Sandoval, its lawsuit challenging Nevada's discriminatory marriage ban. The decision comes just two days after Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval sought leave to withdraw his brief defending the ban. The Ninth Circuit also granted Gov. Sandoval's request to withdraw his brief.

Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Tara Borelli said:

The fact that the government defendants no longer are defending Nevada's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage makes any delay in these loving and committed couples securing the relief they seek particularly intolerable. The wheels of justice are now on a much faster track.

Gov. Sandoval's request and the earlier decision by Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover to withdraw his brief were motivated by the Ninth Circuit's recent ruling in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbott Laboratories that discriminatory classifications based upon sexual orientation must receive heightened scrutiny and should be presumed unconstitutional. The heightened scrutiny standard is much tougher to meet and rendered the state of Nevada's arguments in its original brief defending the marriage ban "no longer tenable in the Ninth Circuit," as Nevada's Attorney General conceded in a statement released last week. The withdrawal of the two government defendants leaves only the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which the U.S. District Court had allowed to intervene, defending the marriage ban.


Nevada Attorney General Reverses, Seeks to Withdraw State's Defense of Gay Marriage Ban

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Corte Masto, who in January compared gay marriage to bigamy and incest in a brief defending the state's ban and shortly thereafter said she would reconsider the brief in light of the 9th Circuit’s opinion in SmithKline Beechum Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, has now decided that the state's arguments in defense of the ban are no longer tenable, the AP reports:

CortezAttorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed a motion Monday to withdraw the state's legal arguments in a case pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval says he agrees with the move, saying it's clear the state's arguments are no longer defensible in court.

The decision means Nevada will not argue to uphold the constitutional prohibition against same-sex marriage that was passed by voters in 2002.

In SmithKline Beechum Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, the 9th Circuit ruled that attorneys could not exclude gay jurors from juries based on their sexual orientation.

In a piece written last month, Towleroad's legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman predicted that the SmithKline Beechum Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories ruling would be impacting marriage equality cases around the country.


11 Attorneys General Sign Federal Appeals Court Brief Defending 'Natural' Marriage

Eleven attorneys general have signed a brief submitted to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals defending Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Nevada"If public affirmation of anyone and everyone’s personal love and commitment is the single purpose of civil marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term ‘marriage’ of any meaning," the attorneys general said in a newly filed amicus brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

And once "natural limits" are gone, "it follows that any group of adults would have an equal claim to marriage," the attorneys general said.

The officials who signed the document are from Nevada, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, and Utah.

The attorneys general say 33 states adhere to a "historical" definition of marriage, which predates the nation’s founding and is centered on procreation, that limits access to the civil institution to one man and one woman.

"The theory of traditional civil marriage, that is, turns on the unique qualities of the male-female couple for procreating and rearing children under optimal circumstances," they argue. "As such, it not only reflects and maintains deep-rooted traditions of our nation, but also furthers the public policy of encouraging biological parents to stay together for the sake of the children produced by their sexual union."

Civil marriage "channels" sexual desires into stable unions, they said, and has a core purpose of "ameliorating the frequent consequences of heterosexual intercourse, namely the unintended issuance of children."

More at the Salt Lake Tribune...


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