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This summer, challenges to state same-sex marriage bans will be heard in the federal appeals courts

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Supreme Court building
Supreme Court building
The next few months will be important ones for the future of marriage equality. Cases are moving from federal district courts into the appeals courts – a step closer to their likely stop at the Supreme Court, maybe as soon as next term. Yesterday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals saw an appeal from Wisconsin reach its judges. With developments occurring at such a fast pace, Equality On Trial wanted to provide a rundown of what to look for in the next few months.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals: Bostic v. Schaefer, the challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban being litigated by Ted Olson and David Boies for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), was argued on May 13. The Fourth Circuit reportedly has the fastest turnaround rate for decisions after oral arguments, so it appears a decision could come down any day. Challenges in some other states within the Fourth Circuit have been put on hold in their respective district courts until the decision in Bostic is released. The Fourth Circuit consists of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: The opening brief in the challenge to Texas’ same-sex marriage ban, DeLeon v. Perry, was due July 9, but the state officials defending the ban sought and won an extension to July 16. The plaintiffs’ brief is due 30 days after that. No argument date has been set in the case, though briefing would be completed by late August under the new schedule. The Fifth Circuit had previously denied a request to fast-track the case. The Fifth Circuit consists of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals: Arguments will be heard on August 6 in five same-sex marriage cases from all four states within the Sixth Circuit. Most cases currently awaiting argument involve the “non-recognition” provisions of the state: that is, the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Only DeBoer v. Snyder, from Michigan, involves both that provision and a challenge to the state’s refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry within the state. The Sixth Circuit consists of Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals: Three challenges to Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban have been consolidated for briefing in the Seventh Circuit, and the case has been fast-tracked. Briefing had initially been scheduled to begin with the opening brief due July 15 and the final brief due by August 5. But see below. No argument date has been set at this time, but presumably it’d be sometime in August.

Also in the Seventh Circuit, as noted above, yesterday Wisconsin officials noted their appeal of the challenge to the state’s ban. No further action has been taken on the case in the appeals court as of this writing. The Seventh Circuit consists of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

UPDATE: The Seventh Circuit has consolidated the two cases. They will both be fast-tracked and heard by the same panel. The new briefing schedule: “Appellant’s brief due on or before 07/23/2014[]. Appellee’s brief due on or before 08/04/2014 [].” Indiana has requested an initial hearing by all Seventh Circuit judges, but no action has been taken on that request yet.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Challenges to same-sex marriage bans from Nevada, Hawaii, and Idaho will be argued in the Ninth Circuit on September 8. As we’ve written, the Ninth Circuit has recently ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation warrants a heightened form of judicial scrutiny, meaning that the bans in these states face an uphill battle, and a presumption of unconstitutionality. The Ninth Circuit consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals: The Tenth Circuit heard arguments in challenges to same-sex marriage bans from Utah and Oklahoma on April 10 and April 17. They’ve issued their opinion in the Utah case, Kitchen v. Herbert, and that state will ask the Supreme Court to review the decision. An opinion in the Oklahoma case is still expected, and could be issued at any time.

Also in the Tenth Circuit, an appeal from a district court’s order in another Utah case, Evans v. Utah, will be reviewed. This case involves same-sex marriages that were performed after the district court’s opinion in Kitchen came down, striking down the state’s ban. State officials question the legality of those marriages and consider them “on hold” pending the court’s review. This case is in its early stages, and no briefing or argument dates are set. It is likely to be argued before the same panel that heard the Kitchen appeal. The Tenth Circuit consists of Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

UPDATE: The Tenth Circuit has declined to issue a stay in Evans, and the state will ask the Supreme Court. They will first have to apply for a stay to Justice Sotomayor in her capacity as Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit.


These are the latest developments as of this writing. There is nothing from the First, Second, or Third Circuits because all states in the first two already have marriage equality, and a clerk’s attempt to intervene in the Pennsylvania case (the last state within that circuit to win marriage equality) was rejected by the district court and the appeals court. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito declined to issue a stay that would have halted same-sex marriages in the state. While the clerk attempting to intervene in the case may ask another Justice to issue a stay, it seems unlikely, and that Justice may refer the request to the full Court, which seems even more likely to reject it.

There are no developments in the Eighth Circuit as of this writing: the cases are further behind. In South Dakota, the plaintiffs have filed a motion for summary judgment (here), and a memo in support (here.) They’ve also requested a hearing on the motion. Once a decision comes down on that motion, it could be appealed to the Eighth Circuit. North Dakota is also facing a federal lawsuit in early stages.

There are no developments in the Eleventh Circuit, either. Two Florida cases have proceeded to hearings, but those were in state, not federal, court. They won’t reach the federal court of appeals. The plaintiffs in one challenge to Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban have asked a district court to rule that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, but briefing is not completed yet in that case in district court.

With Utah officials promising to ask the Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit case, there will be at least one case in front of the Justices for consideration during the October ’14-15 term. They may have several cases to choose from by the end of this year.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

103 Comments

  • 1. Silvershrimp0  |  July 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Fingers crossed for a favorable ruling from the 4th circuit today.

  • 2. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Scottie, thank you for the AC summary. I feel like we're playing 25+ chess games at the same time as we watch this rise up to the AC's.

  • 3. bythesea66  |  July 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

    No kidding. I really hope we get a positive ruling today, though it may be a little early still to expect.

  • 4. MichaelGrabow  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Yes, great summary!

  • 5. SWB1987  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

    When do they typically release rulings?

  • 6. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Starting at 2:30 pm EDT. Here is the link to the daily published decisions.
    http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/daily-opinio

  • 7. SWB1987  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Do all circuits release opinions around 2:30 in their respective time zone?

  • 8. Japrisot  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

    The Fourth Circuit usually posts right around 2:30 PM EDT.

  • 9. drnod10  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

    This is a great summary! Thank you.

    Anyone know what is happening in Arkansas? We work in Texas for a state institution, but live in Arkansas.

    We married in Washington County on May 13 when it was legal and before a stay was issued. So, much like Utah, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and potentially Colorado, we may be in legal limbo. I know HRC sent a letter to the Attorney General (Eric Holder) asking that marriages in AR, WI be recognized at the federal level. Of course, we also are interested in what happens in Texas as that is where we work.

  • 10. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Yesterday, Niemeyer released two published opinions in two cases argued on May 14. But, both opinions are short (13 and 20 pages) and were unanimous. Not sure if this means we can expect Bostic, argued on May 13, and expected to be a long opinion with a dissent, pretty soon – today or next week. (Another published opinion released by Chief Judge Traxler last week was argued way back in January.)

  • 11. RCChicago  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I got this from the Lambda Legal website:

    Wright v. Arkansas*
    Case Type: Seeking freedom to marry for unmarried same-sex couples and recognition of marriages entered by same-sex couples in other jurisdictions, (includes federal claims)
    Counsel: Wagoner Law Firm, P.A.; Cheryl K. Maples
    State Court Level: Supreme
    Status: Filed 8/9/13. Both defendants’ motion to dismiss and plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction were denied. State filed answer to 3rd amended complaint. Cross-motions for summary judgment were filed 2/26/14, responded to 3/19/14, and replied to 4/2/14. Hearing was held 4/17/14. Court issued ruling 5/9/14, holding AR constitutional amendment and statutory bans on same-sex couples marrying or having their out-of-state marriages recognized violated federal guarantees of equal protection and due process. The State has appealed and requested a stay from the trial court pending appeal, which was denied. On 5/16/14 the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a stay of the trial court decision. Appellate briefing schedule has not yet been set.

    As for Texas, here's DeLeon vs Perry:
    The court granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying or recognition of their out-of-state marriages on 2/26/14, but stayed the injunction pending appeal. The state appealed. On 3/7/14, the district court case also was stayed pending appeal. On 4/14/14, the plaintiffs filed an opposed motion to expedite the appeal, which was denied on 5/21/14. Petitioner’s opening brief is due 7/9/14, Appellees’ brief is due 30 days thereafter (8/8/14 if filed on due date, with amicus briefs due one week thereafter) and reply brief is due 14 days after filing of Appellees’ brief (8/22/14 if filed on due date).

  • 12. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Minor WI update: Crabb issued a brief order Friday denying the ACLU's request to lift the stay, saying the request doesn't matter since [AG] Van Hollen has filed his notice [of appeal]
    http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Judge-s

  • 13. Zack12  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I imagine since the 10th circuit issued their ruling that the three judges have since been add revisions to their side.
    I still expect a 2-1 ruling in our favor.

  • 14. StraightDave  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

    "Petitioner’s [Gov Perry] opening brief is due 7/9/14".

    That was 2 days ago. I don't know how strict TX courts are, but has anyone seen this appear yet?

  • 15. Scottie Thomaston  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:29 am

    They got an extension. Brief is due the 16th, as it says in my post…

  • 16. StraightDave  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:32 am

    @brandall … 25 chess games with 25 different sets of rules and 25 degrees of adherence to said rules. When this is all over, somebody ought to write a book or 2. This will provide law school fodder for decades.

  • 17. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

    While we are waiting for the next decision…I pulled the CO county population data to determine what % of the state now has access to ME in the county where they reside. Boulder, Denver and Pueblo rank 7, 2 and 10 respectively. They account for 21.2% of the total state population. It's a start and is better than no ME.

  • 18. StraightDave  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

    thanks Scottie. That's what I get for trying to speed read while pretending to do work.

  • 19. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Yeah, and if the 10th now rules in Bishop, the three judges are going to go, "s**t!" and add revisions again :) But hopefully there shouldn't be any difference between Kitchen and Bishop on the merits. Marriage can't simultaneously be a fundamental right in Utah and not a fundamental right in Oklahoma :) Which makes me wonder why such a big gap between the two decisions?

  • 20. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Maybe in Bishop they're trying to be different and use the 8th amendment to say the bans are cruel and unusual punishment? Yes, just am amusing (but true IMHO) thought.

  • 21. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

    10 thumbs up for honesty! But, I hope you don't work in an ER or are driving an ambulance.

  • 22. sfbob  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

    It's been explained to me that there are standing issues in Bishop that weren't of concern in Kitchen. So it's possible the judges are spending extra time working those out.

  • 23. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

    That's why I've been so patient until now – it's been more than two weeks now. Are the judges working out standing by working out standing until their legs give up and they keel over? (This may be a very bad pun, and I apologize.)

  • 24. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Don't apologize…Friday is (so far) boring compared to the rest of this week. What if legal terminology evolved differently and to participate in a case you had to prove "sitting"….Oh, that was bad, I need to go read an old brief or something.

  • 25. Zack12  |  July 11, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Who knows but the OK case has been a mess from the start.
    Kids in high school were still in elementary school when this case was first filed.

  • 26. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

    "Virginia Family Foundation to fast for 40 days over same-sex marriage"

    Excellent! On the first day of SCOTUS we just need to look for some really skinny people who won't have the strength to hold up their repugnant signs.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/07/11/us-virginia-

  • 27. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I'm curious – has the US Supreme Court ever overturned a string of 20+ courts' unanimous opinions on any issue? What's the closest to such an extraordinary reversal?

  • 28. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Excellent question. Where the hell do we find that historical data?

    Update…I've been looking for 40 minutes. This is a hard one to Google.

  • 29. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:12 am

    There's also Jernigan v. Crane filed in federal district court in Little Rock filed last July. No idea what's taking so long, other than I have a suspicion that all 8th Circuit ME cases are on the slow track due to the adverse previous ruling in Bruning in 2006 or perhaps some other strategic reasoning on the plaintiffs and/or judge's parts.

  • 30. JayJonson  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Do you know whether you have to live in the county in which you get a marriage license? Or can someone live in El Paso country drive to Denver or Boulder and get married there?

  • 31. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

    This case's docket is strange. The last entry is on February 14 when a response in opposition to the State's motion to dismiss was filed by the Plaintiffs. There has been zero activity since then. The case was first assigned to Judge Leon Holmes (George W. Bush appointee) who recused himself citing his long professional and personal relationships with people who worked to put the constitutional marriage ban on the ballot. It was then reassigned to Judge Kristine Baker, a 2012 Obama appointee. What happened to the judge and the plaintiffs since Valentine's Day? Why did they abandon the case? Did they abscond for some reason? There is no summary judgment or preliminary injunction motion, no scheduling order, nothing.

  • 32. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

    No, anyone can apply for a marriage license anywhere in Colorado. You don't even have to be a resident of Colorado!

  • 33. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

    You do not need to reside in the county where you obtain the license. That's why I was careful to say the 'county where they reside'.

    "A marriage license may be issued in any county and used in any county in the State of Colorado. However, the license must be used within 30 days from the date of issue. The license is issued the day it is applied for and may be used immediately."
    http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_state

  • 34. RnL2008  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:29 am

    If any of you live in Oklahoma….please make sure to NOT vote for folks like Scott Esk……and here's why….take a read…..this is just nuts:
    http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/gop-candidate-

  • 35. DaveM_OH  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:31 am

    A whole bunch of uninteresting cases released. No Bostic.

  • 36. sfbob  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:32 am

    A bunch of decisions just showed up. Unfortunately nothing on Bostic vs Rainey. :(

    Does anyone know if they continue posting AFTER 2:30?

    Three opinions show up on the Tenth Circuit's daily listing but Bishop is not one of them. Again, do we know if they post throughout the day or does everything appear at once.

  • 37. DoctorHeimlich  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:32 am

    A fun extra oddity: couples in Colorado can actually self-solemnize their own marriage. No minister or judicial official required. (A few years ago, two friends of mine used this to have me officiate their wedding ceremony, despite the fact I'm not ordained.)

    In a story I read this morning, at least one same-sex couple in Denver already took advantage of this to "marry themselves" right on the spot!

  • 38. Zack12  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I'll keep checking but there is nothing on Bostic today and I don't expect there to be.
    The updates you see on the website at 2:30 are the updates you get.

  • 39. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:37 am

    A few of these cases in southern states have either gone nowhere or have been on a very slow track. Has anything happened in North Carolina's Fisher-Borne v. Smith since a recognition injunction for the plaintiffs was requested in April? I understand that South Carolina's Bradacs v. Haley and West Virginia's McGee v. Cole have been stayed pending the outcome in Bostic . And of course the Louisiana cases have been moving at a snail's pace.

  • 40. JayJonson  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I think this is important because when a few more counties begin issuing licenses we will in effect have de facto marriage equality in the state, as we did in New Mexico before the New Mexico Supreme Court ruling. That will increase pressure on the Colorado Supreme Court to do the right thing and the Attorney General to cave after a state supreme court ruling.

  • 41. Dann3377  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

    GOOD! Let's hope the croak!!

  • 42. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Except that the Colorado Supreme Court will still weigh in on these marriages taking place, most likely well before they weigh in on the constitutional question.They'll likely rule based on their technical reading of the clerks and whether or not they're properly situated to act as they have in their positions. We've seen the Arkansas Supreme Court shut down marriage equality in that state, it unfortunately could happen in Colorado, too.

  • 43. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

    OK, we look for skinny people with no signs who sound like frogs.

  • 44. Zack12  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:55 am

    It could..we'll just have to wait and see.

  • 45. StraightDave  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Nothing nearly so risky. I spend my days arguing with computers and trying to outsmart them. But in my old days I was part of a rescue helicopter crew in the USAF. Then it was definitely all business all the time.

  • 46. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Early last month, the magistrate judge issued a "recommended ruling" that all proceedings in Fisher-Borne be stayed pending the 4th Circuit's decision in (not final disposition of) Bostic. There has been an opposition to this recommended ruling by the plaintiffs (especially on behalf of one couple whose child is not receiving the required urgent treatment for his cerebral palsy due to the nonrecognition of his parents' marriage), which has been briefed and just two days ago, the issue has been referred to Chief Judge William Osteen for resolution.

  • 47. Zack12  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    The cases in the South moving at a snail's pace don't surprise me one bit.
    Many of the judges are bigots that know that ruling against us now will make it likely marriage equality will be the law of the land sooner versus later.
    Thus they want to drag it out as long as possible.

  • 48. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks!

  • 49. sfbob  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Yeah, Scott Esk is one SICK individual.

  • 50. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    My read on the Louisiana judge is he may rule in our favor. Maybe it's the parallels between what he's done and the Michigan case, which I also felt boded quite well for us. I feel like it's more like these judges don't want these cases decided before the rest of the country, since they're being handled in the most anti-gay part of the country. But the judges themselves may or may not be such bigots. I'd almost think it'd be better for a bigot judge to resolve the case sooner, to combat the march of equality rulings that's taking place every day.

  • 51. RnL2008  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    This man and others like him are just pathetic individuals and can't see how much hate they exemplify!!!

  • 52. RnL2008  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Oklahoma seems to have a lot of these sort of individuals either in their legislation or running for political office….ugh:(

  • 53. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Oklahoma is the only state that has never had a county vote for Obama. It is one of the most religious states in the country. It is flat, hot, and lacks a truly cosmopolitan city. I call it "Hell on Earth" when speaking to my ex who now lives there.

  • 54. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Since this is a boring day for ME items, I'll tell you about my adventure in Tulsa, OK. It was the early '80's and I was living in NYC and visiting Tulsa for work.

    I decided to go to a bar and whipped out my Damron's Bar Guide (seems prehistoric now). I tell the doorman I am from NYC and he asks for proof I'm gay. What is proof? He says a gay gym or gay club card. I tell him Studio 54 doesn't issue membership cards. He finally comes to the conclusion to let me in. But, he then asks what do I drink. I replied rum and coke and he says, "OK, your name is Phil." Huh?

    It turns out a gay club can only exist as a private club in Tulsa. Therefore, the "members" bring in their liquor of choice and they put a name on each type of booze. So, for the rest of the evening I was Phil and coke.

    Very strange experience to your point about OK.

  • 55. Randolph_Finder  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I'm not sure there has been a coast to coast full court (sorry for the pun) press on any issue in the history of the US. The closest set of cases I can find is those that were bundled in with Brown vs. Board of Education in desegregating the schools. In that situation there were 5 cases combined. Here, if the Supremes wait for a Circuit Court split, they could be looking at 20 or 25. I still want Herbert to be the case they actually take up.

  • 56. Randolph_Finder  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Only 2?

  • 57. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Tulsa may be the closest thing that state has to a real city. From what I understand, it's got more of an arts scene going than Ok City. Still not a place I'd prefer to visit, but it'd be tops in the state if I had a choice.

  • 58. Steve27516  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    While it's true that all the *states* in the First Circuit have ME, please don't forget my friends in Puerto Rico. If the ME case that is pending there is eventually appealed, it will end up in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, as I understand it.

    Meanwhile, I'm not aware of any cases pending in the US Virgin Islands, but any such future case would fall under the jurisdiction of the Third Circuit.

  • 59. SeattleRobin  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I agree, great and useful summary. I also agree about the chess games. I thought the multiple DOMA cases was confusing at times, but that was just a warmup act to true chaos.

  • 60. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Yes, only 2.

    One is written by Ragavendran in two weeks. It becomes the #1 authoritative book on the history of legalizing ME. I'm personally convinced he has multiple PhD's, a photographic memory, plays 25+ simultaneous chess games and never sleeps.

    The other book is written by a group of EoT'rs and takes 3 years of reading and reviewing over 1,000,000 EoT comments to get the timeline and outcomes correctly. That book is universally panned because they accidentally left in some nasty comments from the sties troll.

  • 61. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Ha ha. Thanks, but you're being too kind and generous with your praise! I can take a stab at it, but I'm no lawyer :) I do have one PhD, so at least some level of critical thinking and analysis skills.

  • 62. RnL2008  |  July 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I have an uncle that lives in Oklahoma along with some folks I met from topix's……..they provide me with a lot of information about that state and man, I've got to say…..I'm glad I don't live there……when ME finally does come to that state…….it will melt from all of the ant-gay folks…….those who are good decent folks better get the hell out before it falls apart…….j/k, but seriously….someone needs to bring that State into the 21st century!!!

  • 63. SeattleRobin  |  July 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    When I was doing some internet research on the history of marriage a couple years ago, one of the interesting things I found was that used to be the common way to get married. Priests only recorded the marriages once they existed, they didn't officiate. I don't remember the years now, but it wasn't until something like the 13th century that priests began officiating, and even later before marriage was declared a sacrament and required to be recognized by the church.

    Even after that though, self-solemnizing was still done in Europe. Especially since Martin Luther and others involved in the Reformation considered marriage to be a civil/secular matter, not something the church should be involved in.

    These are the ancient roots of common law marriage that used to be more widely recognized in the US. In the Colonial days in the US, many marriages had to be conducted by local judges or circuit riders, because there were no Anglican priests within reasonable distance. Which is one reason civil, as opposed to religious, celebration had an early and strong foothold in America. Another reason is that the Puritans, like Luther, believed that marriage was a worldly, not a spiritual, matter.

    The above are some of the reasons why fundamentalists getting their knickers in a twist about the history of the sanctity of marriage is so absurd when you know actual history.

  • 64. RCChicago  |  July 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Absolutely right. One of the briefs filed in VA's Bostic case was submitted by marriage historians who argued against the ignorant view of "traditional" marriage. Plus, while my memory may be playing tricks on me, I think one of the witnesses in our favor in the Michigan case (DeBoer vs Snyder) was an expert historian on marriage, who also talked about the many aspects of "traditional" marriage that we would find acceptable today.

  • 65. JayJonson  |  July 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    No, it would not be best for a "bigot judge to resolve the case sooner" if what you are hoping for is a ruling against marriage equality. We benefit a great deal from the sense of inevitability that comes with the unbroken string of victories we have been receiving. Once a bigot judge rules against us (especially a panel of bigots at the circuit level), that will encourage other bigots, and put marriage equality at risk in lots of places.

  • 66. sfbob  |  July 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Two of the contributors to that brief, Nancy Cott and Stephanie Coontz, testified as expert witnesses at the Prop 8 trial. Both have written books that are absolutely essential reading (I'd especially recommend Cott's "Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation").

    The brief itself presents an amazing synopsis of the ways in which marriage functions and has functioned in the US and the ways in which it has changed over the course of time.

    One item of special interest: In the Southern states, slaves were not permitted to marry (they were "bred" by their owners after it became illegal to import new slaves from Africa). During the Civil War and subsequent to the Emancipation Proclamation, one of the first things newly-freed slaves did was to appear for the local military authorities and ask to be married; officers of the occupying army served in lieu of civil authorities. So the right to marry is foundational to the definition of full citizenship.

    The amicus brief can be found at https://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/lgbt/harris/Fourt

  • 67. BenG1980  |  July 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    That's exactly the point Bruno71 was making from the perspective of the anti-marriage equality crowd.

    "… to combat the march of equality rulings that's taking place every day."

  • 68. davepCA  |  July 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    …. in related economic news, a sudden surplus of Slim Jims, Frito-Lay Funyuns, and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is being reported in southern states, as these and similar trailer park staples languish on the shelves for forty days….

  • 69. SeattleRobin  |  July 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    The really exciting thing is that it was Jesus himself who declared the fast. I wonder why Jesus wandering around and talking to people didn't make all the news casts. That's big news!

  • 70. debater7474  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I think that if the ruling were to be released on any day in Bostic, the attorneys and thus the media would know about it slightly in advance. In Perry, the ninth gave copies of the ruling to the attorneys hours in advance of the public posting. Thus, maybe I'm wrong, but I assume that the media would know and tell us in advance of 2:30 whether there was a ruling coming in the fourth circuit.

  • 71. sfbob  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    The parties' attorneys might be required not to make a disclosure in advance of public release of the ruling.

  • 72. Rik_SD  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I really enjoyed hearing your story :) I think one of the most interesting times I ever had was visiting Stonewall recently and having someone who was there for the riots walk me around the bar and tell me all about how it happened. So interesting!

  • 73. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    When I first started work (the incidents below will give you an approximation of the time frame), I worked with a vet who had just left the USAF.

    One incident he told me about was when the unit was supposed to fly to Antarctica. The chief of the unit wanted to go, but the chief mechanic didn't.

    The chief mechanic told my friend to check out the fuel tanks by banging them with a ball peen hammer (for those who don't know, most fuel tanks on airplanes are in the wings). My friend tapped the wings with the hammer, and found no problems. The chief mechanic showed my friend how to check – swing the hammer HARD!. Soon a leak developed, and the planes were grounded. No trip to Antarctica. (Turns out the unit eventually sent got stuck for several days in Antarctica due to a snowstorm.)

    A few weeks later, the unit was asked if they would accompany a high government official to another country – no other information was made available. The chief mechanic again didn't like the request, so the wing tanks were again tested. Same result as before.

    Turns out, the 'missed' trip was Nixon's first trip to mainland China.

  • 74. JayJonson  |  July 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Huh? "I'd almost think it'd be better for a bigot judge to resolve the case sooner, to combat the march of equality rulings that's taking place every day." That does not say what you apparently think it says. Why would it be good for us to want to combat the march of equality rulings that's taking place every day? Believe me, it would not.

  • 75. sfbob  |  July 11, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    It having been the early 80's (and in Oklahoma), perhaps it was a matter of the existence of sodomy laws. It's easy to forget that until recently there were all sorts of laws that limited how, where and even WHETHER we could congregate. At one time Virginia would deny gay people licenses as…wait for it…HAIRDRESSERS. Seriously, you couldn't get a license to cut hair if you were known ot be a homosexual. Also it was illegal to serve alcohol to known homosexuals. I believe New York State had similar laws until the mid- or late-1970s. That's why so many gay bars were mob-owned. Someone had to have the wherewithal to pay off the authorities.

    In addition there have been strange laws affecting things like bars (gay or not). For example in DC I believe bars are still legally required to serve food. And until the late 1970s everyone in a bar had to be seated. I moved to DC in 1980. At the time people who'd been around told me that at the big dance clubs every table would have a telephone on it. If you were interested at someone who was sitting at another table you'd call them. Because you couldn't walk across the room carrying a drink.

  • 76. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Off topic (maybe), but The Advocate is reporting about a situation in Ohio of a lesbian couple who are fighting a city ordinance in Galion, OH (located near Columbus) that doesn't allow a family pass to the swimming pool except for a "husband, wife and children".
    ( http://www.advocate.com/business/2014/07/11/ohio-… )

    I'm not sure if this case, if it goes to court, will eventually end up in state court, or Federal court.

    Several years ago, my (half-)sister, two nephews, a niece and I got into a museum in NE Indiana (the A-C-D Museum) paying the 'family rate' price, since the person at the register worked with us for a few minutes to establish that we were 'family'.

  • 77. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 11, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    The Fourth Circuit is NOT the Ninth Circuit.

    What happens in one Circuit, or even district may, or may not, happen in another. For instance, some Circuits tell us a week (or more) in advance which judges will sit on what hearing. In the Fourth, that announcement is made the morning of the hearing.

  • 78. scream4ever  |  July 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    The Colorado Supreme court is NOT the Arkansas Supreme Court though.

  • 79. Equality On TrialMarriage&hellip  |  July 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    […] the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, as we noted earlier today, the challenge to Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban has now joined challenges […]

  • 80. JayJonson  |  July 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I don't think there will be a lawsuit involved in the Galion, OH situation. It seems as though the City Council will rewrite the language defining "family" to be more inclusive.

    I think there was a suit in Connecticut back in the 1990s about family admission to pools and other facilities.

  • 81. OctaA  |  July 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I believe that Bruno was talking about from the perspective of the anti marriage equality crowd it would be better for a bigoted judge to rule sooner in order to combat the string of equality rulings.

    Obviously this would be bad for our side but good for theirs. I think this is the point Bruno was trying to make.

  • 82. Bruno71  |  July 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Indeed. And while I could've been more specific in my phrasing, my consistently pro-equality posts on this board should've been the major tip-off that I wasn't saying it'd be better for ME or anyone else who is pro-equality, but for that hypothetical bigot judge.

  • 83. brandall  |  July 11, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I thought I would try to be clever and I wrote a note to Lyle at SCOTUSblog to try and get an answer to your question. After all, he has over 50 years of covering SCOTUS. He promptly wrote back [edited]:

    In 56 years of covering the SCt, I have never seen an unbroken sequence of such length in lower court rulings all coming to the same conclusion. [was there ever a long string of lower court rulings with a contrary decision from SCOTUS?]; there have been SCt rulings when the outcome went contrary to all of the rulings by the federal appeals courts, but I can't remember any specifically. It is rare, though — rare indeed.

  • 84. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I didn't STATE that there would be a law suit, but "IF IT GOES TO COURT".

    Last I heard, there are several hundred miles between Ohio and Connecticut. And last I heard, what happens in Connecticut courts and municipalities rarely have direct impact on Ohio courts and municipalities. If that case you think you remember in Connecticut in the 1990s had any impact in Ohio, would the Ohio municipality need to be considering changing the municipal ordinance? Since the Ohio municipality is thinking of how to change the municipal ordinance, the suit in Connecticut apparently didn't have much impact.

  • 85. Ragavendran  |  July 11, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Wow, thanks brandall! Lyle is the best :)
    (And so are you!)

  • 86. RQO  |  July 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    It is not, indeed, but I suggest one thing in common is some degree of responsiveness to public sentiment (Certainly judges up for election in Arkansas had an effect there). In CO the governor, the AG, the media, and the public all seem to agree that a quick resolution is desirable, and also silently assume that it will strike down the ban. STILL nary a protest from the Right wing, or a major R politician. Suther's constituency left the building while he wasn't watching.
    Here's where we are really lucky: neither NOM, ADF, Liberty Counsel, nor any other outside group is involved in our Colorado cases.

  • 87. ebohlman  |  July 12, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Note that the Arkansas Supreme Court is considered quite liberal, while the Colorado Supreme Court is considered just barely center-left.

  • 88. scream4ever  |  July 12, 2014 at 1:41 am

    The Colorado Supreme Court also isn't facing election season though.

  • 89. Zack12  |  July 12, 2014 at 2:02 am

    It was that way. But the AR Supreme Court that struck down the adoption ban is NOT the same one that will hear the case in the fall/early next year.
    Not only that but two of the people getting elected are sure no votes.
    Sad to say but it is NOT in the bag like it would have been three or four years ago.

  • 90. SeattleRobin  |  July 12, 2014 at 2:39 am

    This is excellent information. I've been wondering about that myself.

  • 91. SeattleRobin  |  July 12, 2014 at 2:45 am

    In Washington we have a law that serving food is required. I rather like it since it provides a greater number of local places to eat, and if you're going specifically to drink, you know you can always get a snack if you start feeling peckish.

  • 92. SeattleRobin  |  July 12, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Why would you need to prove you were family at the museum? Upon seeing two opposite-sex adults and children wouldn't they just assume you are and never question it?

    The Ohio situation sounds like something for the local court since it's an issue with a city ordinance.

    Ah, now that I've read the article, it won't even go to court. When informed of the situation the city council was surprised at the ordinance and plans to make a change to make sure it's inclusive of all kinds of families. Also interestingly, the ordinance doesn't say "husband and wife" it says "mother and father", so marriage isn't even required under the current rule. It does limit eligibility in an odd way though. Grandparents who have their grandkids for the summer wouldn't qualify either, as just one example.

  • 93. JayJonson  |  July 12, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Your phrasing is bad, and I was surprised that you would write what you did since I know that you are pro-equality. But other pro-equality posters have also written that they want an adverse (for us) ruling in order to "force" SCOTUS to take up the issue. I thought that was what you were saying. I think it would be very bad to have an anti-equality ruling from a court.

  • 94. JayJonson  |  July 12, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thanks, brandall, for soliciting this information. That is another reason why it is beneficial to extend the string of wins in District and Appellate courts.

  • 95. JayJonson  |  July 12, 2014 at 7:17 am

    The "private club" charade may have had nothing to do with the fact that it was a gay bar. Oklahoma may well have had a "blue" law that prohibited the sale of mixed drinks except in "private clubs." Several counties in Southern states had such laws. Even today, there are "dry" parishes in North Louisiana where only private clubs like Country Clubs can serve liquor. Since Louisiana parishes tend to be small geographically, people do not have too far to drive to find a liquor store, but it is still annoying.

  • 96. JayJonson  |  July 12, 2014 at 7:23 am

    And neither ebohlman nor I said that you did state that there would be a law suit. And I also did not say that the suit in Connecticut in the 1990s had anything to do with the Galion, Oh situation, except as a parallel case of discrimination that was resolved by court action. Of course, a Connecticut ruling about access to public pools would have no precedential effect on an Ohio court, but unless municipalities actively want to discriminate against its citizens, they probably would not want to have to face a lawsuit defending discrimination. I suspect that the council members may also be thinking about not only what could happen but how much it would cost them IF IT GOES TO COURT.

  • 97. eizverson22  |  July 12, 2014 at 8:23 am

    This summer is not trivial.<img src=http://ladyoffice.com/nesti/cat.jpg>

  • 98. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 12, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Yes, there were two opposite sex adults, but the "children" were not "children" – all were teenagers, or in their 20's, and obviously NOT our children. In fact, my sister was 10 years old when one of the nephews we were with at the museum was born, and it was obvious that they were NOT mother and child (the age difference alone told people that). My sister, in fact, was closer in age to her nephew than to me, her (half-)brother.

    In fact, the reason I was in NE Indiana at that time was because that nephew was getting married soon after, and was old enough NOT to need parental permission (although they approved of the marriage) or a judge's OK to get married. He was 22 years old at the time. My sister was in her early 30's.

    Your ASSuming there was a 25 year (or so) age difference between the 'adults' and 'children' does NOT make that age difference true. There was, in fact, less than a 10 year age difference between the female adult and one nephew.

    Your ASSuming that the niece and nephews of my sister and I were "children" was incorrect. Upper teens to 22 is not generally ASSumed to be "children".

  • 99. DrPatrick1  |  July 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Down vote was from me and was accidental. I was trying to up vote when my finger slipped

  • 100. brandall  |  July 12, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    You should never use your middle finger to handle the voting icon. Risky! LOL

    I gave him an up vote to help remedy your accident.

  • 101. Ragavendran  |  July 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

    DOJ is on our side: http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/doj-set-fight-gay-

  • 102. federal laws  |  July 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm

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    Equality On TrialEquality On Trial »

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