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Federal judge in Alabama denies probate judge’s request to intervene and plaintiffs’ attempt to force attorney general to dismiss ongoing state supreme court case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

The federal judge who’s overseeing two challenges to Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban has just denied a request by Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King to intervene in Strawser v. Strange. The probate judge had sought to intervene so he could continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if the Alabama Supreme Court blocks probate judges from doing so. The state supreme court action is still pending.

The judge noted that all of the current Strawser plaintiffs are in Mobile County, and that county is already under a federal order to issue the licenses. The order notes that “Defendant Judge Don Davis faces the same risk of being subjected to conflicting federal and state orders regarding the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” and that’s enough to ensure that the position of Probate Judge King is adequately represented in the court.

The court noted that “since relief has already been granted to Plaintiffs against Judge Davis and none of the parties seek anything from Judge King, the court does not find King’s intervention is warranted. At this point in the litigation the addition of Judge King as a party will add nothing to the adjudication of the claims presented and may only serve to complicate the matter. Judge King’s participation in this case is neither necessary nor desired by the parties.”

The decision notes that the actual plaintiffs in the Strawser case have asked for a preliminary injunction that would require Alabama’s attorney general to move to dismiss the Alabama Supreme Court action. Judge King asked for the same relief, so an order on that request could be obtained regardless of the judge’s intervention.

However, in a follow-up order, the judge denied the plaintiffs’ request as well.

Judge Granade expressed “sympathy” for the plaintiffs’ position – stuck between the federal Constitution and a possible order from the Alabama Supreme Court – but her order noted that the plaintiffs have received a federal court order allowing them to be married, and that makes the situation a bit murkier. The court wrote that it’s “unclear” at this point what effect a ruling from the state supreme court would have on the plaintiffs.

The court suggests there’s not enough of a link between the attorney general’s conduct and the state supreme court action: “Plaintiffs present no concrete link between the Attorney General’s inaction and the state court action brought by two private entities. The Attorney General correctly observes that in this stage of the proceedings, the “injunctions forbid the Attorney General to take action; they do not compel action.””

Most importantly, whatever happens in the state supreme court, plaintiff couples can still seek injunctions against their probate judges, requiring the judges to issue them marriage licenses: “Moreover, the Attorney General recognizes “[r]egardless of how the Alabama Supreme Court rules . . ., that ruling should not be an impediment to a person who is denied a marriage license from bringing a lawsuit against the Probate Judge who denied the license.””

That essentially means the state supreme court’s ruling wouldn’t necessarily stop same-sex marriage in Alabama. Couples who are denied licenses could ask to be added to the federal case and then ask for their county’s probate judge to be required to issue licenses.

The take-away is that the Jefferson County Probate Judge is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and is currently not under any state order to refrain from doing so, and that the plaintiffs – same-sex couples – in the Strawser case can’t force the attorney general to dismiss the state supreme court action. Regardless, couples can still sue in federal court and seek intervention in the existing lawsuits.

UPDATE: Shannon Minter from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who is representing the plaintiffs in this case, issued a statement: “While we are disappointed that Judge Granade denied our motion, we are encouraged by her strong affirmation that regardless of how the Alabama Supreme Court rules, her order will continue to bind the Attorney General and Mobile Probate Judge Davis, and that same-sex couples will if necessary be able to bring additional cases requiring other probate judges to comply with the federal Constitution and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. We remain optimistic that the Alabama Supreme Court will dismiss the petition and that no further litigation will be required, but we are ready to spring into action and bring any additional litigation necessary to ensure that same-sex couples in Alabama continue to enjoy the freedom to marry and to have their marriages respected by the state. We are confident that any setback, if any occurs, will be temporary. There is no turning back the clock in Alabama.”

UPDATE 2: Replies in the Alabama Supreme Court action were due today, however the private groups who brought the challenge seeking to stop same-sex marriage in the state asked for and got an extension of time to file replies. They’re now due Monday by 10AM.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

124 Comments

  • 1. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Can we all just pretend this article makes some sense? Haha. I found out about both orders at the same time, it was reeaaallyyyyyyy hard trying to explain the whole thing. Alabama. :(

  • 2. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    All this unnecessary turmoil caused by the Alabama SC is frustrating to say the least and totally useless. It irks me.

  • 3. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Ummm, Scottie…..I'm confused….is this Judge for us or against us? The more she does, the less confident I feel!

  • 4. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Carefully read, it makes perfect sense. And from what i have observed, your readers do so carefully at least most of the time.

    :-)

  • 5. jpmassar  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    It's simple!

    If you want to get married in Alabama merely sue a Probate Judge in federal court. What could be more transparent?

  • 6. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    It's very confusing. She ruled against the same-sex couples, but left several avenues open for further challenges.

  • 7. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    And that may not even need to be a lengthy process (depending on federal court jurisdiction.) AFAIK, Judge Granade has yet to issue a final order, thus the existing case is still technically open. A request to intervene in it, adding plaintiff couples and defendant probate judges is available (again, depending on location jurisdiction.)

  • 8. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    This. Thanks jp!

  • 9. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    How did one State get so messed up so quickly? It's almost like she is inviting more lawsuits, but can't seem to do much against Alabama's Supreme Court nonsense……Calgon take me away……lol!!!

  • 10. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    As I read Judge Granade's decisions, she sounds to me to be "for" the law and justice as opposed to an ideology. In this case, that puts her on our side – but only as long as all the Is are dotted and the Ts crossed.

    IMHO, it's the best we should hope for in any judge.

  • 11. Scottie Thomaston  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    It's not her, it's the mandamus action in the state supreme court that's causing all the trouble. County probate judges are worried that they'll be torn between obeying a federal order or obeying a state supreme court order. This is scaring some people. The AL supreme court is being asked essentially to disallow probate judges to issue licenses. Except it's not even state officials asking, it's two private groups. It is a huge and ridiculous mess. So tiring.

  • 12. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I agree……if Moore and the ASSC had stayed out of this……then the Probate Judge's would have KNOWN that the ruling from the Federal Judge was binding…….but the ANTI-GAY folks just CAN'T keep their nose out of this issue!!!

  • 13. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    "…. Judge Granade has yet to issue a final order, thus the existing case is still technically open. A request to intervene in it, adding plaintiff couples and defendant probate judges, is available …."

    Yes, precisely.

    Also, Judge Granade will not issue her final order (Permanent Injunction) until some time well into the future, after she is well assured that EVERYONE in Alabama is on the same page, and EVERYONE is following her court order, whether they be a state official or a county probate judge. Essentially, too, in reading between the lines, she also declared that the Alabama Supreme Court has nothing to do with her cases,– and she has nothing to do with them.

    Just as a note of comparison, Judge Hinkle in Florida has yet to turn his Preliminary Injunction into a Permanent Injunction. Actually, neither can until all appeals are completed, and with the 11 Circuit Court having placed both appeals on hold, pending the outcome of the 4 cases presently before the Supreme Court, don't expect either to issue a Permanent Injunction until August or September, perhaps even later.

  • 14. davepCA  |  February 20, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Hee hee. Yes indeed, jpmasser. Ah, romance. I always cry at lawsuits against a probate judge.

  • 15. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Note to Rose: We're dealing with Alabama, where certain heads are particularly hard.

    Judge Granade is a native Alabaman. She knows how to deal with hard heads. Have confidence in her.

    I think she's brilliant, as she's guided the pro-equality side all the way through this, without panicking or wavering. She's even instructed them on what to do, and how to do it. Remember, "Strawser" began as an obscure "pro se" case filed by a single plaintiff couple, all by themselves, without any lawyer whatsoever. No rights groups were even involved,– but they are now,– and are hustling to make up lost time.

  • 16. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you. I thought that was how it worked. I appreciate that you are so much more familiar with the details, and are willing to share that information.

    Regarding jurisdiction, I remember previous discussions on this site about the three federal districts in Alabama, and if Judge Granade (and this lawsuit) can accept plaintiffs and defendant probate judges from the middle or northern districts. Do you know the answer to that question?

  • 17. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    But Wolf, you're so cute when you're irked!!! LOL

    Question: Are you even cuter when I pull your chain???

  • 18. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Answer: Wolves don't have chains.

    😛

  • 19. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    A_Jayne, Raga and I had a discussion on that matter some time ago, and agreed to let sleeping dogs lie, lest some outside reader (working for the other side) pick up some new ammunition.

    Thus, I'll answer your question this way: Judge Granade appears to think so, and I suspect bases her reasoning on what Judge Hinkle stated in his clarification in Florida. After all, Florida IS precedent for Alabama. The Florida/Alabama state-wide prohibitions have been struck down, having been declared unconstitutional, based on their being in violation of both the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses. Everyone, in both states, need to adhere to the US Constitution, not just one isolated county clerk (Florida) or one singular probate judge (Alabama).

    And that's the angle that needs to be impressed upon. As a side-note, though, since there are several counties right within her own court district blatantly disregarding her order, namely Escambia, Covington, Clarke, and Washington Counties, she could easily nail each one of them, individually, in separate add-on complaints to the original "Strawser" suit.

    Personally, I want a hetero couple to sue in one of the counties that have completely ceased issuing marriage licenses to anyone and everyone.

  • 20. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    "Personally, I want a hetero couple to sue in one of the counties that have completely ceased issuing marriage licenses to anyone and everyone."

    No kidding. Me, too.

  • 21. RobW303  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Why should the action groups be granted an extension to reply when it should be patently clear they have no standing? Since they fail this simple test, all else should be irrelevant.

  • 22. brandall  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Ah, but mine has handcuffs or more accurately pawcuffs.

  • 23. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Kinky lol

  • 24. brandall  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I agree. And furthermore, the plaintiff's were asking Granade to stop the AL Supreme Court from reaching or issuing a decision. You can't do that, so I'm a bit surprised they even asked.

    From the 2nd order: "Because the Alabama Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will even address the merits of the petition, any conflict is purely speculative at this point."

  • 25. brandall  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I would like to see this also. But, what would be the grounds for a lawsuit? Ceasing to issue new licenses was applied equally. How about dereliction of duty? The courts would say the voters have the option of impeaching him from his elected office.

  • 26. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I know we are…….still, sometimes it's confusing and frustrating on this issue……..so many idiots fighting to harm us and our marriages like the AG in Texas who is working hard to nullify that couple's marriage or like Ken Starr tried to invalidate the 18,000 legal marriages that were done here in California before the passage of Prop 8……..I can't help but feel empathy for all of the couples getting married in Alabama as well as other States where the anti-gay folks think they can harm us!!!

  • 27. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Personally, I think those "doggy-tail" butt-plugs are super-hot!!!

    They go nicely with a leader-chain and paw-cuffs.

  • 28. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Perhaps because it delays the inevitable and causes more anxiety? Sometimes I wonder if that's not the goal – just this time it is couched in a perfectly legal request granted…

    As to the action groups, they need a little more time to try to find a way to sound as if their position is different than the PropH8 proponents in Hollingsworth…

  • 29. brandall  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Well, here's a new twist in the annals of the ME legal fight: Texas…SB 673 centralizes the process of obtaining marriage licenses to a single Texas entity, the Secretary of State. This was introduced today and I'm sure they'll rush to get it passed. They think they're being clever, but I see this as the courts now just having to enjoin the SoS and we won't have a county-by-county set of battles.
    http://m.lubbockonline.com/interact/blog-post/ada

  • 30. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Well, technically the plaintiffs were asking Judge Granade to order AG Strange to take action to dismiss the lawsuit at the AL supreme court – as a matter of compliance with her previous injunction re: the AG. It was a long shot, certainly, but apparently they thought it worth the effort.

  • 31. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Ohmagoodness lol

  • 32. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I think the lawsuit that really required some balls is the one at the AL supreme court by the independent groups trying to get the court to order the probate judges to disregard a federal court opinion. WTH?

  • 33. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    TMFI………what an image……..lol!!!

  • 34. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    So, we just sue the Secretary of State instead of a bunch of County Clerks……should be a much easier battle to win…….stupid should hurt!!!

  • 35. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    "How about dereliction of duty?"

    I would think that the withholding of one of the ministerial services outlined by Alabama state law would be a violation of said state law that could be pursued (separately) in state court.

  • 36. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    In a perverse sort of way, that sounds like a plan, as Texas has 254 counties, probably the single-largest quantity of counties in any one state.

  • 37. guitaristbl  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    They did not learn anything from Alabama huh ? Oh I hope it passes, I would actually lobby for that bill ! It will save so much in litigition costs !

  • 38. Fledge01  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    She is neither. She is for the proper application of the law. I believe she has made the correct decisions in all of her recent rulings. I feel the Jefferson County probate judge didn't understand federal rules of civil procedure. People are allowed to intervene when one of the parties would be better off in the application of justice with the third party intervening. Such as if "A" sues "B" to get ownership of a company, but if "A" wins, "C" will sue "A" to get ownership of that same company. In that case, let "C" intervene so that one judge can get it all straightened out at the same time. Its in "A's" interest as an original party to the case to have "C" involved in order to avoid two different cases. In the current case, none of the parties have any interest in Jefferson County intervening as it applies to the original case of the original plaintiffs getting marriage licenses. They have their licenses and they don't need Jefferson County involved in their injunctive relief ruling to help them keep those licenses.

  • 39. A_Jayne  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    It will eventually save Texas taxpayers the litigation costs, because the state will end up paying the legal bills of all plaintiffs' attorneys…

  • 40. flyerguy77  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    less than 4 months or less it will come back and bite in their asses if the bill becomes the law.. :-)

  • 41. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    That may well be true……..but then Texas has been threatening to secede from the United States for years now…….I always wondered how that would actually work out……oh, sorry….drifted a bit there…..lol!!!

  • 42. flyerguy77  |  February 20, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Texas won't secede from US :-)

  • 43. RnL2008  |  February 20, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I know they won't….but they sure think they can…..lol!!!

  • 44. brandall  |  February 20, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    They need the weekend to collect more pillow cases from the KKK and raise $$$ to pay their lawyers. Once they lose, no one will give them any more money.

  • 45. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    The probate judge in Houston County AL (Dothan) has been warned now,– twice. Next, he will be told. Expect a new lawsuit here. It's getting close to that point. http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/gay_marr

    According to this article, the present Alabama county count is as follows:

    48 issuing licenses to everyone
    11 issuing to opposite-sex couples only
    08 not issuing to anyone

  • 46. VIRick  |  February 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    From Equality Kansas:

    As of 9 February 2015, the new Chief Judge of the 28th Judicial District of Kansas, covering Saline and Ottawa Counties, has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    However, Kansas is still stalled on getting complete recognition while the pending lawsuit makes its way through the legal process. The temporary injunction blocking Sedgwick and Douglas counties, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, from enforcing the state ban, still stands. Judges around the state are still making their own decisions regarding the issuance of marriage licenses. Same-sex couples are still having difficulty filing taxes, insuring their spouses, changing drivers licenses, and so on.

    Roughly 2.4 million of Kansas’ 2.88 million residents now live in one of the 61 Kansas counties (of 105) issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. That’s just shy of 84%.

  • 47. 1grod  |  February 21, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Rick – Judge Davenport had been expected to issue licenses to all on the 17th. With the AL Supreme Court's consideration of the case to block all probate judges from issuing licenses, he backed off. As you know well, Houston County is one of 14 counties with a population over 90,000. Only it and Shelby Co are not inclusive counties. Houston Co is covered by the Middle District federal Court, with a court located in Dothan. So, like Jefferson Co, not in Judge Granada's sphere of influence.
    http://www.dothaneagle.com/news/government/no-mar

  • 48. 1grod  |  February 21, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Rick, thank you for the update. Regarding the 'lawsuit", although on January 20 the state [defendants] in Marie v Mosier filed a motion to dismiss, on January 27 the AG's office and ACLU's attorneys held a phone conference call with Federal Judge D Crabtree to set a schedule for the case to proceed on its merits. Freedom to Marry has a complete set of legal documents up to January 5 2015. https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/marie-v-moser-fr… This case has been broadened in Nov/Dec to include recognition of out of state celebrations and recognition by all departments of government of in state and out of state celebrations.

  • 49. Sagesse  |  February 21, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Telling stories.

    What's It Really Like to Be Gay in Alabama? [People]
    http://www.people.com/article/alabama-same-sex-ma

    Ivan & George's Story From The Let Love Define Family Series [Huffington Post]
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/20/ivan-geo

    Legally Married, but Their Boss Disagrees [The Atlantic]
    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02

  • 50. JayJonson  |  February 21, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Rose, there is no question that the judge is for us. She is a judge; she can only rule on questions that are appropriately before her; she cannot issue a ruling in anticipation of what another court may or may not do.

    However, she made it very clear, as did Judge Hinkle in Florida, that same-sex couples, who are denied constitutional rights may sue for relief. Yes, she is inviting lawsuits, and that should send a very clear message to recalcitrant probate judges. The probate judges if they have any sense know that if they are sued they are certain to lose in federal court and will be on the hook for court costs and attorneys fees, so this message should give them pause.

    It should also send a message to the Alabama Supreme Court. Whether they will heed that message may be an open question, considering the fact that most of the justices there are political hacks.

  • 51. JayJonson  |  February 21, 2015 at 7:00 am

    They are granted because the justices of the Alabama Supreme Court are political hacks who are afraid that they will be targeted for defeat in upcoming elections if they don't do the bidding of these right-wingers.

  • 52. JayJonson  |  February 21, 2015 at 7:02 am

    I think I recall seeing a poll that said something like 55% of Texans want to secede from the U.S. There was also a poll that said something like 70% of non-Texans wanted Texas to secede from the U.S.

  • 53. JayJonson  |  February 21, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Lawsuits are well overdue. I do not know why they should be regarded as "a last resort."

  • 54. DACiowan  |  February 21, 2015 at 7:20 am

    95 more than #2, which is Georgia.

  • 55. 1grod  |  February 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Jay: Houston is a county with a population of 101, 547, that being the 12th largest in the state. One might think that the demand for licenses [same or opposite gender] would be regularly present. It would be helpful if a gay and straight couple jointly filed that suit. Closing a government supported shop without just cause must be against regulations.

  • 56. TomPHL  |  February 21, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Say it isn't so!

  • 57. Dr. Z  |  February 21, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I would think WalMart's actions would put them in violation of ERISA. Health insurance is a taxable benefit and must be administered uniformly.

  • 58. 1grod  |  February 21, 2015 at 9:01 am

    As of February 18 relying of Freedom to Marry, Wikipedia identified 47/11/9. Elmore switched from inclusive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in
    This site's record created by Pat concurs [for now]: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sOMXM59jZ
    If you see changes, make it with source and date: Down 3 or 4 counties

  • 59. RnL2008  |  February 21, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Jay…….it was confusing just because of the mess….but I do see your point and I appreciate all of you folks helping me not be so confused….frustrated yes, confused….not anymore!

  • 60. jpmassar  |  February 21, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Denial of a fundamental right, as elocuted in Loving ?

  • 61. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 21, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Yes, this is the point I was making. Denying marriage licenses to everyone is still an infringement on the fundamental right to marry, in my opinion. We shall see if that gets tested.

  • 62. A_Jayne  |  February 21, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Please give me specifics about this statement –

    "Health insurance is a taxable benefit"

    I have never been taxed for health insurance provided by an employer… (Although I understand that adding a spouse to coverage in some locales or circumstances results in the cost of that benefit being added to the employee's income for tax purposes. But in other locales – equal-marriage states – it does not – or am I wrong about that?)

  • 63. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Texas v. White, an 1869 SCOTUS decision, says differently. It says Texas can NOT secede. (I wouldn't cry if Texas tried to secede, but reality says the state can NOT.)

  • 64. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 21, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Off Topic:

    I'm wondering when those who say they are gay and CONservative will ever get the message that they just are not wanted in the GOTP?
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/02/19/cpac-re

  • 65. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 21, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Agreed…but if you think critically about it, if Texas really wanted to leave the Union under circumstances of not wanting to follow federal law, do you think they would care if federal law says they can't?

  • 66. Zack12  |  February 21, 2015 at 11:53 am

    When pigs fly.

  • 67. RnL2008  |  February 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I agree…..they bring the action and then ask for an extension because of who knows what reason…..my guess is it's just a stall tactic because they know they don't have standing to even request to intervene!!!

  • 68. VIRick  |  February 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Yikes! That means Georgia has 159 counties. I knew they had a lot, but never bothered to actually count them all. Imagine us having to go county-by-county in Georgia with this whole marriage license thing, as that single state has more counties than Florida and Alabama combined (at 67 each, or 134 together). Plus, I am well aware that there are a whole lot of verified ass-hat counties in Georgia, too.

  • 69. ebohlman  |  February 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    My impression was that health insurance benefits are tax-deductible to the employer, but only if they're offered on an equal basis to all similarly-situated (e.g. full-time) employees (no deduction for "gold plated" benefits available only to top executives, etc.).

  • 70. DeadHead  |  February 21, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    One Jewish gay friend of mine says Log Cabin Republicans are equivalent to Jewish Nazis. Jeb Bush just announced he has hired gay man Tim Miller to be his communications director. Miller worked on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. I figure Tim Miller is probably from the same “red” mold as Ken Mehlman, remember him? Mehlman worked against our rights by the many campaigns he was involved in before he left mainstream GOP politics. Looking back in history I can't ever recall ANY gay republican in who did much of anything to advance LGBTQ rights. Most were "in it" just for whatever they could get for themselves and threw the rest of us under the bus; often spewing homophobic slurs and hateful rhetoric.

    Johann Hari has an interesting Huff Post blog on gay fascism, The Strange, Strange Story of the Gay Fascists at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-str

    And then there’s bit of historical info about the gay Nazis in the SA, “A number of the SA leaders, including Röhm, were homosexuals. Prior to the purge, Hitler for the most part ignored their behavior because of their usefulness to him during his rise to power. However, their usefulness and Hitler's tolerance had now come to an end. Later, their homosexual conduct would be partly used as an excuse for the murders.” Read more at http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/ro

    The news story about Jeb Bush/Tim Miller is at http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/republican-pre

  • 71. Fledge01  |  February 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    you may have never been taxed, but you are still legally responsible for assigning it a fair market value and declaring that as income. Income, according to the IRS is anything of value the you obtain. It could be a wedding or christmas gift or it could be the services of a neighbor shoveling your driveway. The entire tax code is all about defining when and when these things of value don't need to be declared, but the starting point is that everything is income.

  • 72. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 21, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I wonder how Texas state officials would react to Federal troops saying they can't secede?

    Isn't there a large Army base in Texas?

  • 73. Dr. Z  |  February 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    The law that regulates tax treatment for health insurance is ERISA; it was in turn governed by DOMA until the Windsor decision. A couple married in Massachusetts but residing in Arkansas is married for IRS purposes. So if Wal Mart isn't treating that couple as married, the company is violating federal tax laws that govern how it must administer its benefits.

  • 74. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 21, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Yes, it definitely would come to blows, wouldn't it? :)

  • 75. VIRick  |  February 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I've never understood why certain parts of Texas haven't seceded from Texas. Uniquely enough, they already have the authority (as part of the original annexation deal) to sub-divide themselves into 5 states.

  • 76. Mike_Baltimore  |  February 21, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Technically, the other four states, by the terms of admission, HAD to be free of slaves, or 'free states'. Texas wanted to be able to subdivide into additional 'slave states' to balance if/when additional 'free states' were admitted.

    Slavery was banned in the US upon enactment of the 13th Amendment. In effect, the enactment of the 13th Amendment made the subdivision (for purposes of 'balancing' the admission of 'free states') of Texas moot (although Texas apparently can still subdivide, although now there are several methods for any such subdivisions but none involving the original intent of 'balancing' free states). It would take a lot of incentive for Texas to subdivide now, and that's something I highly doubt the state legislature would like to pursue right now (the US Constitution has always included a method for a subdivision of a state into several, but it entails state and Federal legislative agreement to the subdivision. The only two examples I can think of are Maine, when it separated from Massachusetts [as part of the Missouri Compromise], and West Virginia [when it separated from Virginia during the US Civil War] ).

  • 77. 1grod  |  February 21, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Rick : It is troubling enough that the temporary injunction was challenged at the Appeals Court and Supreme Court level, and the associated stay was lifted, but 1) the governor ensure that KDHE was the only department – important as it is for recording and keeping Vital Statistics, 2) but the 'nob' of a governor on February 10 cancelled LGBT State Employee Benefits that had been in place since 2007 – an then order to add sexual orientation and gender identity to discrimination protection.
    http://eqks.org/wp-content/uploads/container_news

  • 78. Rick55845  |  February 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    "2) but the 'nob' of a governor on February 10 cancelled LGBT State Employee Benefits that had been in place since 2007 – an then order to add sexual orientation and gender identity to discrimination protection."

    I understand that the governor rescinded an order that protects LGBT state workers from discrimination, but I don't understand the rest of your comment "an then order to add sexual orientation and gender identity to discrimination protection." Could you elaborate, please?

  • 79. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Roy Moore says he has no regrets over gay marriage stance
    http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/lo

  • 80. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Article: A one-time foe takes on ‘religious liberty’ bills for gay-rights group

    A prominent Republican whose name will be forever associated with an unhappy milestone in the gay rights movement is about to jump into Georgia’s “religious liberty” fray – but on the side of those who say two bills now under consideration are intended to permit discrimination against gay couples.

    http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2015/02/21/a-one-tim

    Excerpts from a new paper by Michael Bowers, of Bowers v Hardwick infamy:

    “It is no exaggeration that the proposed [measures] could be used to justify putting hoods back on the Ku Klux Klan."

    "…if enacted, the proposed [measures] will permit everyone to become a law unto themselves in terms of deciding what laws they will or will not obey, based on whatever religious tenets they may profess or create at any given time."

  • 81. SethInMaryland  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:17 am

    finland is now 100% offically done: Finnish President Sauli Niinistö this morning signed his nation's marriage equality bill into law, but marriages will not commence until March 2017.
    The signing was an historic occasion also in respect to the fact that this will be the first piece of legislation brought to Parliament as a citizens' initiative and approved as the law of the land. Now that the law has been confirmed by the President, the Justice Ministry will begin the job of revising other national legislation to bring it into line with the concept of gender-neutral marriage. According to officials, various family social and health entitlements will have to be examined and revised, as will the law on the legal status of registered same-sex couples. Revisions are to be submitted to Parliament this coming autumn. Parliament passed the final changes to marriage law to allow same-sex marriage in December. The legislation was based on a citizens' initiative petition signed by 167,000 voters.

  • 82. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Showdown In Wyoming As Anti-Discrimination Republican Boots Anti-Gay Rep From Meeting
    http://www.politicususa.com/2015/02/21/showdown-w

  • 83. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Among the Navajos, a Renewed Debate About Gay Marriage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/among-the-na

  • 84. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Not sure what this means, but I'm pretty sure it means something.

    Bobby Jindal to travel to Israel next fall with Tony Perkins' group [NOLA.com]
    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/02/bo

  • 85. hopalongcassidy  |  February 22, 2015 at 9:49 am

    It is a very wide stance.

  • 86. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

    It means the Republican Party is continuing to attempt to undermine this nation's foreign policy, and in doing so, are traitors

  • 87. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Texas: Petitions targeting Plano’s LGBT ordinance ruled invalid http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/2015022

  • 88. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 22, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Former Senator Craig (R-ID) wide?

  • 89. BillinNO  |  February 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    HAHAHAHA

  • 90. bythesea66  |  February 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    😀 Awesome! The wails of bigoted trash will echo across the land now.

  • 91. JayJonson  |  February 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I am the last person to defend gay Republicans, but we do need to remember that the Log Cabin Republican lawsuit challenging Don't Ask, Don't Tell played a very important role in the repeal of DADT. Also Republican Fred Karger was instrumental in exposing the Mormon connection to Proposition 8. (In addition, the Massachusetts Republican Party has a long history of being in favor of gay rights, so I would think some gay Republicans in that party have been helpful in the struggle.) So it is not true that no gay Republicans have helped advance gay rights, though admittedly they have been few and far between.

  • 92. hopalongcassidy  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    At least that wide, I suspect!

    tap tap tap

  • 93. hopalongcassidy  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Maybe they both hate foreskins…

  • 94. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    "…. something like 70% of non-Texans wanted Texas to secede from the U.S."

    Jay, I particularly enjoyed learning that part,– that a higher percentage of the general population in the rest of the USA would like Texas to secede, than what there are among Texans who constantly threaten to secede.

  • 95. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    That's just ignorance. I felt the same way until I experienced one. Then it was just a whole new world of fun.

  • 96. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Ryan, do I ever have some exciting, adventurous accounts of his antics, long before he was ever apprehended, between flights, doing his thing in that men's room at the Minneapolis Airport.

    Among other things, my DC friends and I actually "toured" the so-called Larry Craig memorial men's room at DC's Union Station where, for years, he regularly "held court" between roll call votes on Capitol Hill, and during which time he also learned to perfect his "tap, tap, tap," routine. One of my friends even knew which stall (but don't ask how he knew). At least Craig showed some taste, as it proved to be quite an elaborately-posh, spotlessly clean men's room (downstairs).

    Then, there's the guy (a former aide) who, almost boastfully, publicly admitted to "Politico" that he slept with Craig,– so apparently there's quite a bit more to the full story than just the "tap, tap, tap" routine that proved to be his downfall.

  • 97. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I'm not a big fan of foreskins either. Still, I'm not at all certain how that portion of the informational equation figures into the present discussion.

    But Ryan, please do tell all! Perhaps that will convince me to change my own opinion, as I've yet to encounter an uncut one that passed the basic smell test.

  • 98. hopalongcassidy  |  February 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Um, I guess my little joke wasn't very good. So solly. Mazel tov.
    😉

  • 99. SouthernAvenger  |  February 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    These types of comments are not appropriate for this website:

    VIRick: I'm not a big fan of foreskins either. Still, I'm not at all certain how that portion of the informational equation figures into the present discussion. But Ryan, please do tell all! Perhaps that will convince me to change my own opinion, as I've yet to encounter an uncut one that passed the basic smell test.

    Hopalongcassidy: Maybe they both hate foreskins.
    http://www.equalityontrial.com/2015/02/20/breakin

  • 100. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Gay Organizations Issue Last Minute Call for Arkansas Governor to Veto Bill Banning LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinances

    A bill seeking to prohibit cities and municipalities in Arkansas from enacting LGBT non-discrimination ordinances is expected to go into effect tomorrow after Governor Asa Hutchinson said Friday he plans on letting the bill become law without his signature.

    http://www.towleroad.com/2015/02/aclu-lambda-lega

  • 101. F_Young  |  February 22, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    What LGBT Americans think of same-sex marriage

    Excerpts:

    "…support for same-sex marriage differs among LGBT adults along party lines
    [19% of LGBT Republicans and 12% of LGBT Blacks oppose "gay marriage"]

    "While 58% said same-sex marriage should be the top priority for LGBT people right now, 39% said the issue was taking too much focus away from other issues important to LGBT people."

    "…LGBT Americans are more likely than the general public to say they want to get married, by 52% to 46%."

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/01/27/w

  • 102. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    From the article:

    "The United States Supreme Court is expected to decide this year whether states can prohibit same-sex marriages, a move with the potential to lead to the legalization of gay unions in all 50 states. But the ruling would not apply to the Navajo Nation, because the country’s 566 tribes are sovereign entities."

  • 103. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I actually thought it was quite good!

  • 104. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    OMG, Ryan! That reply totally begs the question! What was quite good?? LOL

  • 105. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 22, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Well I had intended it to be for Hop's little joke. But it does apply holistically to all things discussed!

  • 106. 1grod  |  February 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Rick: Governor Sam Brownback's order rescinds an executive order issued in 2007 by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to those discrimination protections based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, military or veteran and disability status. [My grammar needed greater care in construction]
    http://eqks.org/breaking-governor-brownback-cance

  • 107. 1grod  |  February 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Avenger: agree. When the number of comments results in comments being collapsed,[such as 106 here since Feb 20th] such comments as you identified add little to the discourse, but may mask serious comments. However,those making them are active, knowledgeable and frequently insightful commentators. I recognized that my replying to your may have the same effect. G

  • 108. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Slooooooooooooooow news cycle.

  • 109. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    At the moment, 21 of Kansas' 31 state judicial districts are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The remaining hold-outs are the 2nd, 4th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 24th, 25th, 27th, and 30th, and cover the remaining 44 counties, all of which are quite rural with low populations except for the 27th, Reno County (Hutchinson). Still, slowly but surely, the number issuing continues to increase.

    Thus, without question, the far bigger problem in Kansas remains the state's non-recognition of these marriages, whether they be performed out-of-state or in-state, for other state purposes, like income tax filings and spousal benefits. Brownback's latest retrograde move, on top of this adamant non-recognition, now adds the possibility that state employees can be fired merely for their sexual orientation. http://www.kscourts.org/dstcts/Kjb_JD_Interactive

  • 110. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    You've got mail!

  • 111. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 22, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Oh, stop. We have some fun here on occasion. It's not a crime.

  • 112. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    For the record, I appreciate your lighthearted innuendo. It lightens up the consistently serious mood we are constantly in around here.

  • 113. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    To these gay groups: Way to pay attention, guys!

  • 114. VIRick  |  February 22, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Wolf, that's so charmingly sweet of you. I enjoy your cute, warm, pleasant camaradarie, as well, especially when you do your coyly blushing "Ohmagoodness" thing!.

    But on a slightly different note, I'm rather confused. So, here we are, discussing same-sex marriage, and all the legal ins and outs, as well as the myriad twists and turns, of what appears to be a never-ending saga, given the exceedingly mind-numbing obfuscation of all the assorted bigots and haters. And yet as the same time, we're supposed to pretend that penises aren't involved? I mean, I'm afraid I'm won't be marrying anyone who doesn't have one. So to me, it's all part of the total presentation package.

  • 115. bythesea66  |  February 22, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    A simple majority overrides a Governor's veto in AR, but it's still insulting that he won't bother to anyway. However, whether he does or not it will still become law unless some legislators change their vote after the veto.

  • 116. RnL2008  |  February 23, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Hey EoTer's,
    Take a read over this article….it's on the Log Cabin Republican's site……and it's been around for a bit…but still a good read: http://www.chandlerburr.com/articles/Burr_White_P

    And here is another one: http://www.bidstrup.com/marriage.htm

    The 2nd article is more of an essay….but it really does give food for thought.

  • 117. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 23, 2015 at 5:46 am

    ROTFLMAO

  • 118. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 23, 2015 at 6:13 am

    We could have a censure motion against the three of us – that would be fun! Expulsion seems a bit harsh since it is just personal preferences.

    Give us a federal or circuit court order to read, hash out, and play SCOTUS with and we will (likely) refrain from circumcision topics.

  • 119. DACiowan  |  February 23, 2015 at 6:31 am

    IMO circumcision is ritualized child abuse, one of the last relics of controlling organized religion yet to mostly die out here.

  • 120. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 23, 2015 at 6:35 am

    You won't read a disagreement from me on that statement. Now that I know, I'd like mine back! We all (those who were not given the option to decide the fate our our penis) don't know what we are missing out on.

  • 121. DACiowan  |  February 23, 2015 at 7:15 am

    To be clear, I don't object to an adult having it done on themselves but doing it to a child, just no. I consider myself lucky that my mother said no.

  • 122. hopalongcassidy  |  February 23, 2015 at 8:13 am

    FWIW, when I had mine snipped at age 7 (!) it had nothing to do with religion, the doctor who was checking me after a bout with measles noticed I was 'intact' and convinced my parents it should be done for "medical" reasons, which I guess were fairly common back in 1949 but I came to think it was all bullshit. Looking back, I don't think he was all that good a physician…but it's been too late for 60 odd years, so I think I'm free to laugh about it if I want.
    😀

    (I still remember all too well the couple of weeks afterward, having to mess with bandages and foul smelling unguents. Gah.)

  • 123. TDGrove  |  February 23, 2015 at 8:41 am

    While visiting Washington D.C., I stumbled upon an anti-circumcision protest. 2 slogans on signs still make me laugh.

    "Don't snip the tip"
    "A foreskin is not a birth defect"

    My father got cut at 18 and that was apparently traumatic. I was done at birth and can't imagine it any other way and obviously don't remember. Neither was done for religious reasons.

  • 124. VIRick  |  February 23, 2015 at 9:44 am

    "Give us a federal or circuit court order to read, hash out, and play SCOTUS with and we will (likely) refrain from circumcision topics."

    Ryan, indeed! Plus, last night was a particularly slow news night, so somehow, we got distracted off onto this side-issue topic. From my experience on another web-site, said topic, despite it being merely one's personal preference, is also one of the most divisive internet subjects imaginable, so we really should leave it alone (the topic, that is, not necessarily the other thing).

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