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Thursday Speed Read: NOM, Oregon, UCC, DeMaio, Kuehl, Utah, Aiken

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

KennedySUPREME COURT SAYS NO TO NOM:

The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday denied a request to stop same-sex couples in Oregon from marrying. The request came from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and was directed to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles motions from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The one-sentence order Wednesday noted that Kennedy referred the matter to the full court. NOM had sought a stay of a May 19 federal district court ruling declaring Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. NOM had also asked the federal district court for the right to serve as intervenor in a case to defend the state ban after the governor and attorney general made clear they would not. NOM said Wednesday it would continue pressing its appeal for intervenor status to the Ninth Circuit.

UccUCC LAWSUIT GAINS ALLIES:

Three more religious groups joined the United Church of Christ’s lawsuit in North Carolina this week. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (2,000 rabbis), the Alliance of Baptists (130 congregations), and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (90 congregations) signed on as plaintiffs in UCC v. Cooper, arguing that the state ban on same-sex couples marrying violates the free exercise of religion for clergy who conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples. On May 27, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper asked the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina to delay hearing the case until after the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules on a case against a similar ban in Virginia.

DemaioDEMAIO ADVANCES IN HIS PRIMARY:

Openly gay Republican Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio advanced in his primary Tuesday in San Diego. DeMaio came in second behind incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat, but in California’s primaries, the top two vote getters proceed to the November ballot. DeMaio received 36 percent of the vote, compared to Peters’ 42 percent, but he handily beat out two other Republicans who garnered a combined 22 percent.

KUEHL IN RUNOFF WITH SHRIVER:

KuehlOpenly gay California Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. She will face second place Bobby Shriver on the November ballot. Kuehl earned 36 percent of the votes in the eight-candidate race, followed by Shriver with 29 percent, and openly gay former West Hollywood Councilman John Duran with 16 percent. No one’s called the race for state controller yet, but it appears openly gay former California Assembly Speaker John Perez may have secured a spot on the November ballot. Perez appears to have come in second behind Republican Ashley Swearengin.

UtahUTAH APPEALS RECOGNITION ORDER:

As expected, the attorney general of Utah filed notice Wednesday that the state will appeal a May 19 federal district court judge’s preliminary injunction requiring that Utah recognize the marriages of an estimated 1,300 same-sex couples that took place before a U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay in another district court judge’s decision striking down the state’s ban. Judge Dale Kimball (a Clinton appointee) delayed his order 21 days to give the state time to appeal his injunction in Evans v. Utah to the Tenth Circuit. A Tenth Circuit panel has already heard arguments in Kitchen v. Herbert, which challenges the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

AikenCLAY AIKEN BLAMES PRESIDENT:

Openly gay Congressional candidate Clay Aiken of North Carolina said in a recent interview with CNN that the buck stops with President Obama on the Veterans Administration’s failure to provide medical care to veterans in a timely fashion.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


U.S. Supreme Court Denies NOM Request to Halt Gay Marriages in Oregon

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to halt gay marriages in Oregon, The Oregonian reports:

SupremesIn a terse, one-sentence order, the court rejected a request by the National Organization for Marriage to put on ice the May 19 federal court ruling allowing gays and lesbians to marry in Oregon.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who rules on emergency cases in the western region of Oregon, referred the issue to the full court, which then declined to get involved in the Oregon case.

Read the order here.


SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy Requests Briefs from Both Parties on NOM Request to Stay Oregon Ruling

Yesterday we reported that the National Organization for Marriage appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay Judge Michael McShane's ruling striking down Oregon's gay marriage ban while it appeals a decision that prevented it from intervening to defend the ban.

KennedyJustice Anthony Kennedy, who is fielding the request, wants more information from the parties involved before he makes a decision.

The Oregonian reports:

Kennedy asked for briefs to be filed by 1 p.m. Monday from the parties in the two lawsuits that led to U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's May 19 ruling that allowed gays and lesbians to marry in Oregon.

Kennedy, who hears emergency appeals from the region that includes Oregon, could issue a ruling on NOM's motion on its own or pass the issue on to the full court.

At a minimum, Kennedy's action means that he wants more information on the case before he makes a decision. But it's hard to know whether NOM has a strong shot for its argument that the Supreme Court should get involved in the Oregon case because of its unusual nature.


NOM Asks U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to Block Oregon Gay Marriage Ruling

KennedyThe National Organization for Marriage, whose attempt to intervene in a case challenging Oregon's ban on gay marriage was rejected by U.S. District Judge Michael McShane before he struck the ban down, has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block McShane's ruling, the AP reports:

The group, which opposes gay marriage, says it filed the request on Tuesday with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles such requests from the region that includes Oregon.

...The National Organization for Marriage is seeking a stay of that ruling while it appeals an earlier decision that prohibited the group from defending the marriage ban on behalf of its Oregon members.


Marriage Equality Comes to Oregon and Pennsylvania: An Analysis, Part I

Mcshane_jones

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Two very different federal judges, an openly gay Obama-appointee and a conservative appointed by George W. Bush at the recommendation of Rick Santorum, swept aside bans on same-sex marriage in Oregon and Pennsylvania, respectively. They did so with rhetorical flourishes and, at times, deeply personal musings. The lesson here is simple: The justice of marriage equality is blind to politics.

There are other lessons, of course. The unbroken string of courtroom victories over the last year is indebted to Justice Kennedy's decision in United States v. Windsor. And the opinions, for the most part, rely on similar substantive grounds. Granted, some judges analyze both due process and equal protection arguments, while others stop after one or the other; some call for heightened scrutiny, while others decide not to touch it. But there is remarkable overlap and, as I've argued before, a new normal is emerging.

But let's see an even broader picture. We know that nationwide support for same-sex marriage rights is at an all time high. We also know that gay legal advocates have won an unbroken string of victories since Windsor, and have been winning victories since Mary Bonauto and the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders represented Nancy Gill in the District of Massachusetts. The two are likely correlated. Legal victories provide legitimacy to seemingly controversial opinions, and piling on victory after victory makes those on the fence realize that what seemed so foreign to them at one time is pretty mainstream.

We should congratulate our lawyers for their success and thank them for making gay marriage the new normal.

AFTER THE JUMP, I review the details of the decision in Oregon and make some broader conclusions.

Continue reading "Marriage Equality Comes to Oregon and Pennsylvania: An Analysis, Part I" »


Tuesday Speed Read: Oregon, Utah, Primary Day, Los Angeles, Charles Van Sant

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

OREGON JUDGE STRIKES BAN:

McshaneOregon on Monday became the 18th state to allow same-sex couples to marry. In a 26-page ruling that shared some of his personal experience with anti-gay sentiments, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane (an Obama appointee) struck down the state’s ban as “utterly arbitrary and completely irrational” and in violation of the equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber and his attorney general had already made clear they intended to abide by any decision striking the ban, and McShane’s order called for his decision to go into effect immediately. One of the plaintiff couples was the first to get married, just minutes after the decision was released. See full story.

FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS UTAH MARRIAGES COUNT:

UtahU.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball (Clinton appointee) granted a preliminary injunction Monday afternoon requiring that Utah recognize the marriages of an estimated 1,300 same-sex couples that took place before a U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay in another district court judge’s decision in Kitchen v. Herbert, striking down the state’s ban. But Kimball, who applied heightened scrutiny in the case, Evans v. Utah, stayed his order for 21 days, to give the state time to seek an emergency stay from the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. At deadline, state officials said they were considering an appeal but had not yet made a decision. John Mejia, an attorney with the ACLU which sought the injunction, said that, while couples must still await a permanent decision, the preliminary injunction does provide same-sex couples with “the full recognition they deserve as lawfully married couples.”

GAYS IN MANY PRIMARIES TODAY:

Josh_youngAt least eight openly gay candidates are on the ballot in primaries today. Six of them are running for state House seats: Incumbents include Reps. Simone Bell and Karla Drenner of Georgia and Brian Sims of Pennsylvania; newcomers include John McCrostie in Idaho; Rob Nosse in Oregon; and Joshua Young of Pennsylvania (pictured). In Georgia, Kyle Williams is running for the state senate and Joan Garner is running for a Fulton County Commission seat.

HOT RACE FOR L.A. COUNTY BOARD:

Two openly gay candidates are among eight people running for the June 3 election for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Former California Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl is considered one of the frontrunners in the contest. She was, in 1994, the first openly gay person elected to the California Assembly and later the first to serve in the state senate. She was term-limited out of the legislature. Former West Hollywood City Council member John Duran is also running. Duran has deep ties to the LGBT community, having served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Lambda Legal, Equality California, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. They are running against Bobby Shriver, the son of the late Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver.

VansantCAUGHT ON TAPE:

Equality Florida has posted a video on its website showing Florida Republican State Rep. Charles Van Zant speaking at a right-wing conservative conference in March opposing certain education reforms proposed by the American Institutes for Research (AIR): “These people….will promote double mindedness in state education and attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.” Politifact.com, a fact-checking feature of the Miami Herald, says AIR “only provides materials on gay and lesbian issues to schools and organizations that request it….And the group does not promote the issues.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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