Supreme Court Hub

Rachel Maddow On SCOTUS And Gay Marriage: ‘A Sense Of Inevitability Can Be A Dangerous Thing’ - VIDEO


On Friday night, Rachel Maddow dug into the decision by the Supreme Court to hear 4 cases tackling whether states have the right to ban same-sex marriage. As our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman pointed out in his analysis of this decision, the Court seems to be leaning towards recognizing a nationwide freedom to marry. And indeed, momentum seems to be on the side of marriage equality. Since the 2013 SCOTUS ruling on DOMA, we have gone from having only 20% of the U.S. population living in states that allow same-sex marriage to 70% (see GIF below). However, for all the talk of momentum, Rachel Maddow wonders, what if the inevitable is not so inevitable? 

Watch her contemplate this question, AFTER THE JUMP…


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Bill Maher, MSNBC's Josh Barro and Actor Josh Gad on Whether We've Reached the 'Final Frontier' in Gay Rights: VIDEO


On Friday's Real Time, host Bill Maher's opening monologue addressed the Supreme Court's decision to set aside two and a half hours of oral arguments for the four gay marriage cases (you probably get where that joke is going to go) while on the "Overtime" segment, Maher and the panel were asked whether they think the gay rights movement is entering into some sort of "final frontier" phase. 

Maher3MSNBC contributor Josh Barro said the "final frontier" in gay rights will take place "inside peoples' homes and communities." He also pointed out that there is still a great deal of "state discrimination" against the LGBT community and that many individuals continue to face discrimination from their families, churches, and workplaces.

Actor Josh Gad, meanwhile, drew comparisons between gay rights and the fight over abortion and how the Supreme Court might overturn the progress made in the movement. 

Of course, to easily answer the question one only needs to look at Uganda's "Anti-Homosexuality Law" or trans teen Leelah Alcorn to realize we still have a long, long way to go before we can say we've entered some sort of "final" stage in the movement for LGBT equality.


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Ted Olson and Hate Leader Tony Perkins Face Off on SCOTUS and Nationwide Marriage Equality: VIDEO


AFER lawyer Ted Olson and Family Research Council President Tony Perkin were back on FOX News Sunday this morning, this time to discuss the Supreme Court's decision to review four gay marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit. Unsurprisingly, many of the same arguments and talking points from their first face off back in October resurfaced this time around.

Perkins, the leader of a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, again brought up the fact that voters in a majority of states have chosen to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Olson countered: But the Supreme Court again and again has said that it's its responsibility to decide when the Constitution trumps the will of the people. Justice Kennedy held for the court striking down a Colorado measure a number of years ago that discriminated against gays and lesbians. He voted for the court and wrote the opinion striking laws in Texas and laws throughout the United States that prohibited private same-sex conduct in the privacy of home and he wrote the opinion for the court in the decision striking down the legislature's overwhelming decision to enact the Defense of Marriage Act. So ultimately, the reason we have a Constitution, the reason we have separation of powers, the reason we have the 14th amendment is to provide the courts with the opportunity to override the will of the people when the will of the people leads to discrimination against a segment of our society. 


Previously, "David Boies on Why the Supreme Court Will Legalize Nationwide Marriage Equality" [tlrd]

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Detroit Minister Sues Michigan For The Right To Conduct Same-Sex and Polygamous Marriages

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 2.36.41 PMA bold Detroit minister filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, alleging state law violates his right to religious freedom by barring him from conducting same-sex and polygamous marriages reports The Detroit NewsRev. Neil Patrick Carrick filed the lawsuit on Monday against Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette, citing that the state's ban on such unions runs counter to the First Amendment and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Carrick issued a stoic statement on the matter Tuesday.

Said Carrick:

"Churches should have the right to marry who they want to marry. I've been told by others that 'we would love to marry (gays and lesbians) but we can't because we would be breaking the law.'

"The state of Michigan does not have the right to tell us what to do in our church."

In the lawsuit, Carrick claims the state engages in "the disparate treatment" of gays, lesbians and what he calls "plural relationships." Carrick, a former pastor with the United Church of Christ, says he turned down requests from same-sex to marry because he would be breaking state law. Michigan law states that someone who knowingly performs a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples is a punishable crime and carries a fine of up to $500. "Michigan officials create discrimination and potentially prosecution of private conduct between consenting adults without requiring law enforcement officials to show harm to society or those involved," Carrick said.

Gina Calcagno, the campaign manager for Michigan for Marriage, an advocacy group that wholeheartedly supports same-sex marriage, said many religious are eager to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. "They are just waiting for the state to catch up," said Calcagno. The United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit last April against the state of North Carolina arguing that the state's marriage law violates the First Amendment rights of clergy to "free exercise of religion." A federal judge struck down the North Carolina law in October.

A spokesman for the Michigan Attorney General's Office declined to comment about the lawsuit Tuesday. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review a case challenging Michigan's gay marriage ban. 

Attorney General Eric Holder: Dept. of Justice Will Ask SCOTUS To 'Make Marriage Equality A Reality For All Americans'


Attorney General Eric Holder, hot on the heels of news from the Supreme Court today that it will hear four challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, announced that the Department of Justice will file an amicus brief with the Court asking the justices to recognize marriage equality as the law of the land:

“After the Justice Department's decision not to defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court sent a powerful message that Americans in same-sex marriages are entitled to equal protection and equal treatment under the law.  This landmark decision marked a historic step toward equality for all American families.

“The Supreme Court has announced that it will soon hear several cases raising core questions concerning the constitutionality of same-sex marriages.  As these cases proceed, the Department of Justice will remain committed to ensuring that the benefits of marriage are available as broadly as possible.  And we will keep striving to secure equal treatment for all members of society—regardless of sexual orientation.

“As such, we expect to file a ‘friend of the court’ brief in these cases that will urge the Supreme Court to make marriage equality a reality for all Americans.  It is time for our nation to take another critical step forward to ensure the fundamental equality of all Americans—no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love.”

In case you missed it, check out our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of today's news from the Supreme Court. And in case you're wondering what happens should we lose the cases before the Court, Lambda Legal has spelled out what could happen HERE.

It's On! Supreme Court Will Hear Marriage Equality Cases: An Early Analysis



As widely expected, the Supreme Court decided to hear four marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit. Cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee will be consolidated into one omnibus marriage hearing over 2 1/2 hours. With the order issued today, the briefing schedule has the parties' briefs due between February and April. That means that the Court could issue a decision by the end of June 2015.

Unlike the last time the Court heard a case challenging a state ban on marriage equality (the Prop 8 case), the Court does not appear likely to sidestep the central issue. The "questions presented" for the hearing are as follows:

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 the legal questions at the heart of the marriage equality movement. They should be squarely addressed in this case.

This post begins a series of analyses and reports on the case, which will be rolled out as the case unfolds over the next couple of months.

For now,the first of several initial considerations as we take the next step in this journey.


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