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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.


Marriage Equality Comes to Oregon!

Oregon
Via Oregon United Twitter: "After defeating #OR's marriage ban in court, plaintiff couple Paul & Ben are now legally married!"

Apologies for Towleroad's lengthy downtime today, which was the result of a DDoS attack on our publishing platform Typepad, which affected all sites it serves. We are hoping that the site is back for good. Thank you so much for your support!

While we were gone, marriage equality came to Oregon!

The Oregonian:

Jubilant couples who anticipated a favorable decision from the judge began the rush to officially wed at locations around the state. McShane ordered that his ruling take immediate effect.

"Because Oregon's marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest," McShane wrote in his decision, "the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson, two of the plaintiffs in the case, were the first couple to marry in Multnomah County following the ruling.

Oregon becomes the seventh state where a federal judge has struck down a gay marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court last year invalidated key sections of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Read the ruling and watch KOIN's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marriage Equality Comes to Oregon!" »


Monday Speed Read: Utah, Arkansas, Porterville Mayor, Obama vs. Homophobia, Sacred Heart Tux

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

McshaneOREGON DECISION AT NOON TODAY:

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane of Oregon said Friday he would issue his decision at noon PDT today in litigation challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Unless McShane puts a stay on his own decision, a ruling against the ban would likely go into effect immediately.  Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum refused to defend the ban in court, saying it was unconstitutional. Officials in several counties have already indicated they are prepared to issue licenses as soon as such a decision is announced.

ArkansasARKANSAS ROLLER COASTER:

Arkansas county circuit court Judge Chris Piazza issued an amended and final decision May 15 to make clear he intended to include, in his original May 9 ruling striking down two laws banning same-sex couples from marrying, a third law that prohibits county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The next day, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order, granting the state’s request for a stay on Piazza’s decision pending the state’s appeal before the state high court. And then, the Republican speaker of the Arkansas House voted against suspension of House rules to allow for a vote on a resolution to urge the state supreme court to overturn Piazza’s ruling. The Arkansas Times reported that House Speaker Davy Carter voted against suspending the rules to allow the resolution on the floor, saying “Judicial intimidation by the legislative branch is not appropriate in this instance or any other.”

MAYOR SAYS BULLIED KIDS SHOULD ‘GROW A PAIR’:

Porterville, California, is not an LGBT friendly place. Its city council last fall ousted a mayor who had declared June LGBT Pride Month and, in 2008, it supported Proposition 8. But it still startled some observers last week when the new mayor, Cameron Hamilton, said kids who are bullied should take care of the problem themselves. “I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything….All most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves,” said Hamilton, recorded by ABC News. The former mayor, Virginia Gurrola, said “It’s hard to stand up and grow a pair when you’re a ten-year-old little girl.” The proposal before the council was a resolution by Gurrola to create “safe zones” for kids during after school hours. Gay Porterville spokeswoman Melissa McMurrey said she was “shocked” by Hamilton’s remarks. The council will take up the resolution Tuesday, May 20.

PRESIDENT SPEAKS AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA:

The White House issued a press release Friday, saying “no one should face violence or discrimination -- no matter who they are or whom they love.” The statement was released to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which was Saturday. The president’s statement also noted that next month marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

CATHOLIC STUDENTS RALLY BEHIND TUX:

Students at a Catholic high school in San Francisco wore ties to school Friday to express their support of a female student who wore a tuxedo for her senior portrait. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory requires female students to wear dresses for their senior portraits and took Jessica Urbina’s photo out of the yearbook. But school officials told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday that the tie-day action “sparked a campus-wide dialogue which will result in a revision of policy."
© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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