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READ IT HERE: Alabama Governor Robert Bentley files brief in Supreme Court in support of a stay of same-sex marriages

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Alabama’s governor, Robert Bentley, has sought permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court urging the Justices to grant a stay pending appeal in the marriage cases.

The brief is more or less the same as the one filed by the governor in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

You can read it here:

14A840 Gov Bentley Amicus Brief by Equality Case Files

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. 1grod  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Scottie: Sorry to be off topic leading this post, but have not seen in another thread that:
    Michigan Governor says State Will Recognize 300+ Marriage of same-Gender couples that took place last March:

  • 2. guitaristbl  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    There is a whole article about it, you probably did not check much..

  • 3. DrBriCA  |  February 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  • 4. tigris26  |  February 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Off-topic a bit, but I was listening to the NPR segment again and there was a good point brought up by the Supreme Court observer (David Savage) in the interview:

    A major reason behind the Supreme Court taking up the cases now after the 6th CA ruled was because "the Constitution cannot mean one thing in one part of the country, and then mean something different in another part."

    THIS is another reason I think a positive nationwide ruling would make the most sense. Nearly all of the courts across the country have declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry, but ONLY one CA said "No". And there can't be a fundamental right to marry in most of the country and then no fundamental right to marry in these little pockets of the Midwest.

  • 5. Raga  |  February 4, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    While I share your optimism (with some added caution) for a positive nationwide ruling, I would rely on the merits rather than the number of CA that have ruled one way or the other. A Supreme Court opinion on this question cannot depend on such numbers. Whether the Supreme Court hands down a positive or negative ruling – in both cases, it is a nationwide resolution of what the Constitution means regarding the question of marriage equality across the country.

  • 6. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Yeah? I want a trillion dollars and a portal into the Netherworld that I can toss my enemies into…but you don't see that happening, do you, Mr. Bentley? How does it feel to want, Governor?

  • 7. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    "A Supeme Court opinion on this question cannot depend on such numbers."

    But…Raga, the Supreme Court practically blessed these numbers. It's not as if we've had four Courts of Appeals rule in our favor and one did not and they all have pending petitions for cert. The four sets of decisions in our favor were denied review and the one that wasn't is being reviewed. If that doesn't come off as "four did right and one did wrong," what will?

  • 8. tigris26  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Sure, I totally get what you're saying.

    This just brought me back to my thought about how crazy the result of a negative ruling would be. I can't imagine what the benefits would be for having same-sex marriage legal in 36 states and not legal in 14 states. We would never be a unified country with this? The Supreme Court unified us with interracial marriage in 1967. But not in this case? What possible good could come of that?

  • 9. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I think the issue I'm having personally with SCOTUS is that our desired ruling could make perfect sense and they might not make it. After some of their more recent decisions, ones that include our dear Justice Kennedy, haven't made sense…I've lost my faith in their ability to make sense.

  • 10. Raga  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I see your point, Wolf, but as we know, technically, a denial of cert is just that – a denial of cert. It doesn't endorse the lower court's opinion. But yeah, I'm with you to the extent that on the issue of something as irreversible and important as these legally performed marriages, it is hard to see how the Supreme Court could have simply denied review without a care in the world, only to claim months later that all those decisions were wrong – that would paint the Court as utterly irresponsible (the reaction to the merits decision itself is another matter), an outcome that Roberts, in particular, would want to avoid.

  • 11. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I'm so glad you and I are on the same page, my dear Ragavendran. It's been so long since I've had the opportunity to debate anything with you, I've forgotten the pleasure of it. :)

  • 12. Raga  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    The outcome you posit in the case of a negative ruling is only partly correct (unless the Justices once again dodge making a decision on the merits, which is highly unlikely) – if the Supreme Court upholds the Sixth Circuit, i.e., a negative ruling, that means that in those states where marriage equality was achieved through court decisions that relied on the U. S. Constitution, the lawsuits could be reopened by state officials and injunctions reversed/withdrawn. So there will still be some states with marriage equality and some without, but the numbers won't be 36-14.

    Also, a nation divided in its marriage laws is not a new thing. We are still divided on the issue of cousin marriage – but at least nobody (as far as I know) has ever challenged such bans in federal court.

  • 13. DrBriCA  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Worse yet, a negative ruling would give many of the 36 states the opportunity to revive their bans and stop new marriages. The number would quickly flip back to a minority of states having marriage equality.

  • 14. Raga  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Oh yes – it's been a while! Thank you – I find your arguments well-reasoned and well-thought-out too. I just have this compelling urge to separate the technical, rule-based facts from the practical, well-reasoned predictions/speculations :)

  • 15. RQO  |  February 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    There were comments on a prior post about worrying about SCOTUS's decision. Several commenters jumped on a worry-wart. We have all been following all the decisions (thanks in large part to this website), we have all seen the quick evolution of legal thinking trending (or "avalanching") in favor of marriage equality, we all see that the anti ME folks do not have a new argument in spite of a year of trying. Victory is, presumably, at hand.
    Yet I am a worry-wart, too. Colorado recognizes my Vermont license = kinda-sorta. An attempt to write it into statute law just got squashed by Republicans. I have asked the Governor and the AG to explain exactly where we're at, and have gotten no answer from either offce, pre-or -post election.. This in a purple state. And still – on a strictly legal basis, things are open to some right wing nut-job causing trouble.
    I, too, worry about SCOTUS. I have little doubt they will "approve" ME on the surface. But I worry the language they use may leave us open to another 20 years of arguing over the details. I do NOT want to be negative: every little bit of progress/advantage, no matter how small, is celebrated like the 4th of July in my house. We are getting there faster than we dreamed.. But I don't go to sleep thinking the fight is over.

  • 16. tigris26  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Gotcha…Yeah, I think I read somewhere about that being a possible result of a negative ruling.

    That's just too unsettling to think about considering all the progress we've made in such a short time: for SCOTUS to say, "Oh actually there is no fundamental right to marry. We just struck down DOMA and denied the stays in all those states just for the hell of it." After Romer, Lawrence, & Windsor, Kennedy is just gonna throw his whole legacy of gay rights out the window – completely change his mind about us after all these years. Really?

    Gosh, look at me falling into being a downer! Maybe I'll just wait until I hear the oral arguments before I participate in any more debates…I swear April can't get here fast enough!

    [Sorry I got all rant-y. I hope I didn't offend you, Raga. I do enjoy your insight on these matters.]

  • 17. DrBriCA  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I've been reading "Winning Marriage," and the author states that as Freedom to Marry grew around 2010, their initial goal was to have 20 ME states by 2020. We've definitely been on a fast track few expected even a couple years ago! :-)

  • 18. scream4ever  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Can you also get married in Colorado as well?

  • 19. Raga  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Not at all, dear tigris – I totally agree with you on the point about it being completely rash for the Court to go rogue and declare this June that the lower courts' rulings they refused to review were all wrong. See my comments to Wolf above – I'm just anal about separating facts from predictions/speculations :)

  • 20. brandall  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Yes. Colorado was one of the more interesting states in the past year. It was judicial mayhem when the Boulder county clerk started issuing licenses because she thought it was the right thing to do. There were multiple cases at the state and Federal level, emergency filings galore, and in the end we won.

  • 21. brandall  |  February 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for summarizing my thoughts on this matter. We will win ME, but they will be careful not to go any further, i.e. scrutiny, protected class, etc. I have to see "Baker is not controlling."

  • 22. VIRick  |  February 4, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    "I'm just anal about separating facts from predictions/speculations :) "

    Raga, forgive me for being so anal in return regarding your own analysis based on the anal capacity of one's inate anal-ness, but sometimes, it gives the (false) impression that you're too busy inspecting the resulting fecal matter as a direct result of the anal-ness of said analysis. It rather reminds me of Scalia's consulting with the harispices inspecting the entrails (although that comparison is way too harsh).

    Wolf got the big picture. You like the details (separating fact from speculation, a point with which I definitely agree). But there is definite factual evidence to Wolf's big picture, just as he iterated.

  • 23. F_Young  |  February 4, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    RQO: "I, too, worry about SCOTUS. I have little doubt they will "approve" ME on the surface. But I worry the language they use may leave us open to another 20 years of arguing over the details."

    Yes, I agree that SCOTUS will probably rule in favor of marriage equality with a limited rationale that will still leave LGB Americans without a federal constitutional right to protection against discrimination.

    RQO: "But I don't go to sleep thinking the fight is over. "

    I agree. In fact, the fight against the special right to discriminate will be huge, and we are not at all assured of ultimate victory, especially when the composition of SCOTUS inevitably changes. In fact, we already need to start redirecting our resources to this fight, because we are likely to lose more often than win in the red states.

  • 24. scream4ever  |  February 4, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I was wondering specifically if you could enter into a marriage in Colorado even though you were already entered into a Vermont civil union. Sorry if I wasn't more clear.

  • 25. 1grod  |  February 5, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Bri – I believe there are 14 states that achieved equality through legislative actions and/or ballot initiatives. The other 22+ would still have a significant number of married same gender couples. Would not the Supremes address their status as did Strauss v Horton (2009): the 18,000 couples pre Prop 8, Evans v Herbert (2014): 1300 couples and Casper v Snyder( 2015): 300 couples. A more interesting question for me is how quickly would the momentum shift back to the legislative and/or ballot initiatives.

  • 26. montezuma58  |  February 5, 2015 at 6:33 am

    The federal courts wouldn't touch any states that gained marriage equality through the state courts. That is as long as the state courts allowed it on state constitutional grounds. I think that is the case for all the states without amendments where the state courts prevailed.

  • 27. Rick55845  |  February 5, 2015 at 6:43 am

    New Mexico is one such state. It had no statutory or constitutional ban (I believe it is the only state without one or the other), where the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that marriage licenses must be issued to couples without regard to gender. Frankly, that ruling by the state Supreme Court was the main reason my husband and I chose New Mexico to get married. That, and the fact that it was the closest place we could go to get married. *Only* 650 miles (1300 round trip).

  • 28. JayJonson  |  February 5, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I am not exactly a "worry-wart." I think that SCOTUS as currently constituted will do the right thing. My worry is what happens if something should happen to one of the Windsor majority between now and the end of June. Obviously, Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer, due to their ages, are the most vulnerable, but life is unpredictable and even Justices Kagan and Sotomayor could suffer some illness that would cause them to step down or die. Other than that nagging worry, however, I am confident that the Windsor majority will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples across the nation.

    I predict that they will do so on an equal protection analysis that may not mandate "strict scrutiny" on the basis of sexual orientation (apparently Kennedy does not like such classificiations) but will nevertheless lead to other circuit courts granting in practice at least intermediate scrutiny in dealing with cases alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    That will not end the fight for equality in this country. Our enemies are tenacious and unscrupulous. They have a great deal of power in that the Republican Party has mostly signed on to their agenda. The fight will continue in the legislatures and, especially if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, in the Courts.

  • 29. 1grod  |  February 5, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Montezuma. Good point. Mass – state court, CA – state statute that came into effect 15/1/1, CT -state court & statute, IA -state court, VT – statute, NH statute, DC – statute, NY – statute, WA – statute & ballot initiative, ME – ballot initiative, MD – ballot initiative, RI – statute, DE – statute, MN -statute, NJ – state court, HI – statute, IL – statute, NM – state court, and CL – state & fed courts.

  • 30. guitaristbl  |  February 5, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Scalia is older than Kennedy and Breyer. I have thought many times how mean I am when thinking about it but I can't help but think how many families and couples accross the US would wait for a SCOTUS resolution if something happened to Scalia..Ugh..

  • 31. hopalongcassidy  |  February 5, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I bet it really grates his nads that he has to grovel to a black judge for this. HAHAHAHA

  • 32. RQO  |  February 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Yes you can, but I shouldn't have to with my 2013 Vermont license, which the state IS recognizing, but I have yet to be informed of controlling law that guarantees that recognition. Legislation was introduced a couple weeks ago in the new State Assembly session, but the R's won the Senate last Nov. and the three R troglodyte members on the "kill committee" to which it was assigned had a petty, vindictive hissy fit and, well, killed it. Animus, again.
    I have asked my (very right Republican) state senator and representative to explain if there was a reason behind this other than sheer idiotic spite over having finally lost the civil unions battle in 2013. I have had no response from them (meaning, yeah, it was merely petty vindictiveness), but they aren't off the hook just yet. One Colorado (our LGBT rights org.) has it's lobby day at the state capitol next Monday. I never miss nailing my reps face-to-face on our issues.Since I'm old, white, thinning hair, slighlty overweight, and dressed with a hint of manure on my jeans, they usually don't know what's coming.
    My point is: recognition should be clearly spelled out. Nobody should have to hire lawyers and go to court to fight some dingbat, retrograde state official (or relative of a deceased person) who takes it upon themselves to be a S%#@.

  • 33. RQO  |  February 5, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Just followed up with 'phone calls to the Governor and the Attorney General here in Colorado. They refuse to comment, and refer me to hiring private counsel to try to find out. Next call, my state rep's office cheerfully promises an answer. Naifs?

  • 34. VIRick  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    And that's 19 jurisdictions, to which we can also add both Nevada (through the legislative process) and Oregon (through referendum) , as both had launched the respective process to un-do their state constitutional amendments prior to the federal courts striking down their bans. If it proved necessary, one can assume that that process would continue.

    Also, in Maryland, the ballot initiative was a negative (unsuccessful) attempt to over-ride the legislature, whose marriage equality bill had already been signed into law by the governor. Thus, for Maryland, I would state: statute, re-affirmed by rejection of negative ballot initiative (the same as in Minnesota).

    And by CL, I assume you mean CO (Colorado). As for CA, what is the significance of the "date," 15/1/1?? Did something happen there on 1 January 2015 for which I am unaware?

  • 35. VIRick  |  February 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Guitar, Scalia could die off tomorrow morning and not be missed. In fact, he would even be doing himself a favor, as he could then avoid having to conjure up yet another histrionic dissenting rant full of his favorite argle-bargle.

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