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Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Appealed to Supreme Court

OK

Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, which was overturned last month by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has now been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. This follows on the heels of a similar appeal made by Utah officials on Tuesday concerning their own state's ban on gay marriage. 

The appeal in Oklahoma was filed by lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal counsel representing Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued after refusing to grand a marriage license to a gay couple.

The AP reports:

"The 10th Circuit ... negated the exercise of this fundamental right (of voting) by more than 1 million Oklahomans and millions of voters in other states," Wednesday's appeal filing stated. "Invalidating the people's voice on an issue as profound as the definition of marriage presents an important question that warrants this court's review."

ADF senior counsel Byron Babione said, "The people of every state should retain the freedom to preserve marriage if they so choose. Courts shouldn't decide the legal destiny of marriage in any state, let alone in every state."

In a joint statement released last Friday, Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop, the couple who challenged the gay marriage ban shortly after it was approved overwhelmingly by voters back in 2004, said the following:

“We are ready to see the highest court in the land affirm that marriage equality is the law of the land. We have confidence in our case and our lawyers, and should the Supreme Court agree to hear our case, we anticipate a victory there, as well.”

Read Smith's petition below:

Oklahoma Smith Petition by Equality Case Files 


Six Marriage Equality Cases at the Sixth Circuit Today: A Preview

6thcircuit

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in a series of marriage equality cases today from the jurisdiction's four constituent states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. It is an unprecedented coming together of marriage equality litigation that has the potential to change the destiny of marriage in the federal courts for several reasons:

6thcircuitFirst, these cases cover the entire Sixth Circuit and any decision could affect all of them directly, even if a decision is stayed pending appeal to the Supreme Court. We have seen this happen in the Fourth Circuit, where the appellate court overturns a ban on marriage equality and other states in the circuit, North Carolina and West Virginia, either stop defending their own bans or take other pro-equality actions because they see the writing on the wall even though the decision is stayed pending appeal.

Second, the three-judge panel reflects the right-of-center tilt of the circuit, consisting of a Clinton appointee and two George W. Bush appointees, one of whom has made his fiercely conservative views public.

And, third, as the third federal appeals court to hear a post-Windsor marriage case -- after the Tenth (the Utah case) and the Fourth (the Virginia case), but before the Seventh (on August 26), the Ninth (on September 8), and at some point, the Fifth -- the Sixth Circuit is being watched to determine if a pattern is emerging among the circuits or if there will be a split among the panels.

AFTER THE JUMP, I summarize the cases and briefly profile the judges on the panel. I will also discuss a few things to watch for during the marthon oral argument, scheduled to being at 1 PM.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Six Marriage Equality Cases at the Sixth Circuit Today: A Preview" »


Virginia to Appeal Gay Marriage Ruling to U.S. Supreme Court

Virginia

Following Utah's announcement that it would appeal a ruling striking down its same-sex marriage ban to the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia announced today that it would do the same this Friday, the AP reports.

Said Attorney General Mark Herring:

"Throughout this case, I have fought for the fundamental rights of Virginians and the quickest possible resolution. I believe the district and appeals courts ruled correctly in striking down Virginia's discriminatory marriage ban, but it has long been clear that the Supreme Court will likely have the final word. I want that decision to come as soon as possible and I want the voices of Virginians to be heard. This case has moved forward at an incredibly swift pace, and I look forward to a final resolution that affirms the fundamental right of all Virginians to marry."

Plaintiffs in the Bostic case are represented by Ted Olson and David Boies at the American Foundation for Equal Rights, who represented plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 fight.

Read Virginia's announcement below:

Virginia will ask Supreme Court to review Bostic case


Utah Appeals Gay Marriage Ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court

Utah has become the first state to appeal a ruling striking down a state ban on gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

SupremesUtah announced last month its intent to appeal the 10th Circuit’s decision to the nation’s high court. The Supreme Court is on break until the fall, at which point the justices will review Utah’s petition and decide whether to hear the case — known as granting certiorari.

Should the court decline to hear the case and deny Utah’s request, the 10th Circuit’s decision would stand — effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in all of the states in that circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

The question presented to the court, according to the state’s petition, is "whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a state from defining or recognizing marriage only as the legal union between a man and a woman."

The plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert are represented by Peggy Tomsic of the Salt Lake City law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Said Tomsic in a press release:

"We respect the State’s right to seek review of its own law in the highest Court in the land, but we also respectfully, and vehemently, disagree with the notion that States can deny one of the most foundational rights to the millions of same-sex couples living across this great land. We look forward to reviewing the Petition filed by Utah’s excellent lawyers, and to responding to it in due course."

Added NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter:

“We respectfully disagree with the State of Utah’s lawyers. Utah’s same-sex couples and their children are continually harmed by the enforcement of measures that deny them equal dignity, security and protection. We will carefully review the State’s petition to determine the response that will best advance our goal of winning for all Utahns the freedom to marry the person they love, and to have their marriages treated the same as other couples’ marriages.”

The Utah petition below:

Herbert v Kitchen Petition and Appendix by Equality Case Files

Wednesday will be another big day for legal marriage challenges in the U.S. as the Sixth Circuit hears six separate marriage equality cases from Kentucky (two cases), Michigan, Ohio (two cases), and Tennessee.

NCLR is involved tomorrow as well. Al Jazeera reports:

“This is the most marriage equality cases ever heard in one court at one time, but the underlying situation is kind of incredible as well,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is a plaintiff in the case challenging Tennessee’s same-sex-marriage ban. “It just so happened they had six cases that affected every state in the circuit in the same time frame. It does make sense to assign them to the same judging panel, since they all present either identical or closely related issues.”


Pennsylvania Clerk's Request For 'En Banc' Hearing To Gain Standing In Gay Marriage Case Denied

Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Schuylkill County clerk who was denied standing in Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage case and received a "no" from the Supreme Court upon asking for same-sex marriages to be halted, has once again been turned down. This time the Third Circuit court of appeals denied Santai-Gaffney's request for an "en banc" hearing to gain standing in the case. An "en banc" hearing would up the amount of third circuit judges considering her case from three to fourteen.

SantaiGaffneyLGBTQ Nation reports:

On July 3, a three judge panel of the Third Circuit rejected Santai-Gaffney’s bid to gain standing in the case, affirming the District Court’s ruling that “if the highest elected official in the commonwealth chooses to abide by our decision, it defies credulity that we would permit a single citizen to stand in for him to perfect an appeal.”

...

Santai-Gaffney, who is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom — a conservative legal group also representing clerks in Virginia and Oklahoma same-sex marriage cases — asked the U.S. Supreme Court last month to stop same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania. Without comment, Justice Samuel Alito rejected that motion.

Santai-Gaffney is expected to return to the Supreme Court to appeal the Third Circuit decision.

Some people never learn...


Fourth Circuit Decision Striking Down Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban to be Petitioned to Supreme Court

Virginia

Late last week a county clerk in Virginia signaled her intention to ask the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

A similar appeal to the highest court in the land took place last week as well - with the 10th Circuit's decision overturning Oklahoma's gay marriage ban.

SCOTUSblog reports:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 11.28.42 AMIn Virginia, Michele B. McQuigg [pictured], who is the county clerk of Prince William County, a jurisdiction just south of Washington, D.C., asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to delay its July 28 decision striking down the Virginia ban on same-sex marriages.  She asked for a ninety-day delay to allow her to file a petition for review in the Supreme Court, which she said her lawyers would file by October 26.

Unlike most other states involved in court battles over same-sex marriage, Virginia allows its county clerks — the officers who issue marriage licenses — to be in court to defend the state ban.  In other states where a defense has been mounted behind such a prohibition, state officials have done so.

SCOTUS has complete discretion on which case to take, if any. 

 


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