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Supreme Court To Consider On Jan 9. Whether To Hear Challenges To Same-Sex Marriage Bans

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In the wake of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision earlier this year to uphold bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan, the United States Supreme Court has decided to consider hearing challenges to that ruling from marriage equality advocates during its closed doors conference on January 9th. At that same conference, the Court will also be considering a decision from a federal judge in Louisiana that let that state's ban on same-sex marriage stand. BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner reports: 

“The Tanco [Tennessee case] petition will be considered at the Court’s January 9 conference, along with … petitions filed by the plaintiffs in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Louisiana,” National Center for Lesbian Rights spokesperson Erik Olvera told BuzzFeed News on Monday afternoon.

The plaintiffs and marriage equality advocates alike hope the petitions will provide the Supreme Court with the chance to take a case to resolve the issue nationally with a ruling that would apply across the country.

Although the justices denied petitions filed earlier in the year from other states, all were in cases in which the lower court had struck down the bans — and before there was a “circuit split,” a disagreement among the federal appeals court on the issue. All five petitions before the court now come from decisions upholding the various states’ bans.

In November, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, reversed the four district courts to have heard the cases out of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee — sending the plaintiffs in the cases from all four states to the Supreme Court seeking an appeal. 

[…]

Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio officials agreed that the Supreme Court should take a case and resolve the issue nationally; only Tennessee officials opposed Supreme Court review.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Jeffrey Fisher, from Stanford Law School, joined the Kentucky lawyers, led by Daniel Canon, in Monday’s reply brief, arguing, “For petitioners here – and for lesbian and gay couples and families across both the Sixth Circuit and the country – the harm and confusion that the circuit split has caused calls out for immediate review.”

You can read the Kentucky plaintiffs' reply below:

14-575 Plaintiffs' Reply by Equality Case Files


NCLR Asks Supreme Court to Review 6th Circuit Ruling Upholding Tennessee's Gay Marriage Ban

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Following on the heels of a similar petition by the ACLU and Lambda Legal earlier today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has asked the Supreme Court to take up the Sixth's Circuit's anti-equality ruling.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal request deals with Ohio's gay marriage ban while the NCLR's centers on Tennessee's ban.

Background on the case, courtesy of NCLR

On October 21, 2013, NCLR filed a lawsuit on behalf of three legally married same-sex couples, challenging Tennessee laws that prevent the state from respecting their marriages and treating them the same as all other legally married couples in Tennessee. To prevent the plaintiff couples from continuing to be harmed by Tennessee’s laws, a federal district court in Nashville, Tennessee ruled on March 14, 2014 that Tennessee officials must recognize the couples’ marriages while their lawsuit is pending. The state appealed that ruling.

Read the petition below:


ACLU and Lambda Legal Ask Supreme Court to Review 6th Circuit Ruling Upholding Gay Marriage Bans

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As expected, the ACLU and Lambda Legal have filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the Sixth Circuit's anti-equality ruling that upheld gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. 

Said Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal via press release:

We have reached a tipping point, and the lives of thousands of same-sex spouses and their families hang in the balance. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling shines a spotlight on our divided country, where married same-sex couples are either respected or discriminated against, depending on where they live or even where they travel. As we have learned from other historic cases like Loving v. Virginia and Lawrence v. Texas, there comes a time when the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in, and provides the answer,--on the question of marriage for same-sex couples we believe that time has come.

Read the petition below via Equality Case Files:


Same-Sex Couples to Appeal Sixth Circuit Ruling Directly to U.S. Supreme Court

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The plaintiffs in the Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee marriage cases will seek immediate Supreme Court review of yesterday's Sixth Circuit ruling upholding the states' bans on same-sex marriage. 

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Abby Rubenfeld, the lead counsel for the Tennessee plaintiffs, said lawyers from all four state cases were in agreement about sending the issue to the Supreme Court.

“We just had a conference call with the attorneys from all four Sixth Circuit states on the marriage cases. We were all in agreement to apply for certiorari at the supreme court, and not to first seek en banc review in the Sixth Circuit,” she explained. “Given the significance of the issue, the reality that it will end up in the Supreme Court ultimately, and the harms that all of our clients are suffering each day that their marriages are not recognized, we want to get to the Supreme Court sooner rather than later.”

“We hope to file within two weeks, and hopefully sooner, so that we can still be on the docket for this term—which means resolution by june 30, 2015,” she added.


Activists Push For Hate Crime Designation in Brutal Knoxville Beating

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The Tennessee Equality Project is pushing law enforcement in Knoxville, Tennessee to prosecute the brutal attack of a local gay man, David Keck, as a hate crime. Keck was savagely beaten by suspect Dennis Wilder after Keck allegedly made sexual advances towards Wilder. The report of the night's events is according to Wilder who turned himself into police after beating Keck unconscious and stealing $100 in cash from him along with his car. WVLT reports:

According to witnesses, two men, identified as Wilder and David Keck, left Bullfeathers Bar and headed to Keck's place at the Brendon Park apartments off Cedar Bluff.

Wilder is quoted in a police report telling officers he had hit Keck "several times" after David came on to him sexually at the apartments.

When police showed up, they found David Keck "beaten unconscious," and say Wilder told them he was afraid he'd killed Keck.

Keck is currently suffering from short term memory loss due to the heinous attack. Wilder does not currently face any hate crimes charges, only aggravated robbery chargers, a fact the Tennessee Equality Project is looking to change:

"Thankfully because Tennessee does have sexual orientation under hate crime law the D.A. can ask for enhancement, which would be a stricter penalty as well," [said Gwen Schablik, the Tennessee Equality Project Committee Chair for Anderson, Knox and Blount Counties.]

The Knoxville Police Department says it is unlikely the district attorney's office will bring hate crime charges against Wilder.

Wilder is scheduled to be in court on Friday.

Keck shared the images above with WVLT "because he wants us to show and tell his story."


Southern Baptist Leader Denounces 'Ex-Gay' Therapy - VIDEO

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Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore has denounced “ex-gay” therapy at a conference in Nashville, reports Huffington Post.

The American Psychological Association has urged mental health professionals to avoid “ex-gay” therapy since 2009. Since then, California and New Jersey have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors.

Speaking to journalists at the group’s national conference yesterday, Moore, who serves as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said that “ex-gay” therapy has been “severely counterproductive.” Sbclogo

“The utopian idea if you come to Christ and if you go through our program, you’re going to be immediately set free from attraction or anything you’re struggling with, I don’t think that’s a Christian idea.

“Faithfulness to Christ means obedience to Christ. It does not necessarily mean that someone’s attractions are going to change.

“The Bible doesn’t promise us freedom from temptation. The Bible promises us the power of the spirit to walk through temptation.

“The idea that one is simply the sum of one’s sexual identity is something that is psychologically harmful ultimately. And I think also we have a situation where gay and lesbian people have been treated really, really badly. The response is not shunning, putting them out on the street. The answer is loving your child.”

On the same morning that Moore made similar comments to an audience of 1,300 people, three representatives from the “ex-gay” movement spoke at the conference.

In July, "ex-gay" Yvette Schneider published a “coming out” interview with GLAAD calling for bans on reparative therapy.

Watch Moore discuss his opinions on same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptist Leader Denounces 'Ex-Gay' Therapy - VIDEO" »


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