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Equality news round-up: Texas anti-gay bill dies, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Alabama state seal– The proposed bill to stop same-sex marriage in Texas if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans is dead.

– Some companies are asking their gay employees to get married or lose their benefits, if it’s legal in their state.

– Georgia has joined Texas’ challenge to the Obama administration’s rule allowing same-sex married couples to receive Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits if they got legally married regardless of where they live now. The judge has partially stayed the case until the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, except that the challenge to the preliminary injunction entered by the judge (blocking the new rule) will move forward.

– Baldwin County, Alabama’s probate judge is requesting to file a reply in support of his motion to dismiss, alter, or vacate the judge’s earlier decision not to dismiss the case against him challenging Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

76 Comments

  • 1. Dann3377  |  May 15, 2015 at 8:12 am

    It's a great day here in Texas! It appears it was all for show,

  • 2. davepCA  |  May 15, 2015 at 9:48 am

    The article about companies telling their employees who are in a same sex relationship to get married or lose the partners benefits is interesting. Of course it makes sense that, now that those states allow same sex couples to legally marry, companies will want to be consistent with their policies and offer insurance only to married couples, since opposite sex couples have to be married to receive them, same sex couples should be treated the same way.

    With one big fat lingering issue – In those states that now have ME, but still do NOT give gay citizens protections from being fired just for being gay, gay citizens still have legitimate reasons to avoid being outed at work, and getting legally married can easily do that.

  • 3. GregInTN  |  May 15, 2015 at 10:12 am

    There is also, for now, the issue of having to relocate to a non-equality state. During downsizing some companies force employees to either relocate or lose all severance benefits. If you relocate to a non-equality state, you may not be able to get divorced if your relationship ends. I expect this consideration will be moot around the end of next month though.

  • 4. Sneaks  |  May 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Unfortunately, Bell can still tack it on as an amendment if it is "germane" for the bill. It's bleeding heavy, but not dead yet.

  • 5. Rick55845  |  May 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Not all companies require opposite sex couples to be married to receive benefits. That was originally the case at a company I previously worked for, but in about 2001 when the company started offering benefits to same-sex domestic partners of its employees, they kept the policy consistent by offering benefits to unmarried opposite-sex partners of employees too. You simply had to affirm that you were in a long-term committed relationship with the non-employee in order to be eligible for benefits.

  • 6. DrPatrick1  |  May 15, 2015 at 11:16 am

    2 issues: 1 should GLBT's be granted access to the same social supports available to other families (FMLA, SS benefits, Health insurance through an employer) ANSWER: OF COURSE!

    2: Does an employeer need to offer DP benefits if it allows ME. ANSWER: NO. This does bring up a different issue about the fairness of discriminating against similarly situated but unmarried couples. I think as long as everyone is able to marry, it is their choice if they choose not to. I think there is a societal benefit for couples to take the legal responsibility for each other through marriage, and therefore it is ok to benefit married persons, and to withhold those benefits from unmarried persons (as long as the ability to marry is equal).

  • 7. DrPatrick1  |  May 15, 2015 at 11:22 am

    How would one apply for Employer sponsored DP benefits without coming out? How would this be any different then requiring them to marry?

    GregInTN brings up a good point of having to relocate to a nonmarriage state, and then being unable to access equal benefits to marriage (and thus divorce) and this would certainly be a valid reason why not having DP benefits would harm gay employees more than straight employees. So I suppose I would be in favor of a company who doesn't operate in any non ME states eliminating DP benefits, but I would also lobby companies who do business with non ME states to keep the DP benefits, even for employees who currently work in ME states.

  • 8. KahuBill  |  May 15, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Has everyone else given up hope on hearing from the 5th Circuit? With the end of SCOTUS' current term getting closer by the day, it seems more and more unlikely we will hear from them. Aside from not doing their jobs and denying justice to the plaintiffs, it seems so very disrespectful to the attorneys and others who committed so much time and money to this case.

  • 9. JayJonson  |  May 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Article about Luxembourg's Prime Minister's wedding: http://www.glbtq.com/blogs/congratulations_to_pri

    BTW, does anyone know why Luxembourg is so rich?

  • 10. RemC_Chicago  |  May 15, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Yep. I have.

  • 11. sglaser2  |  May 15, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Given that folks rarely work for a single employer for an entire career, I would be reluctant to require marriage to gain benefits at this point.

    Just cause a company doesn't do business in a state that allows discrimination, that's no guarantee that an employee (or his/her partner) might be forced to relocate to one in the future. Requiring an employee "sign up for possible future discrimination" doesn't seem fair.

  • 12. flyerguy77  |  May 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I have not. This is how 5th COA works……. stop whining!!!

  • 13. DrPatrick1  |  May 15, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    On the other hand, it was unnecessary but very welcome for companies to offer DP benefits in an attempt to correct government discrimination against GLBT's. Companies often then offered the benefit to straight employees as well (so they would not be considered discriminating against straights). I don't think we should say a company is bad if they now choose to discontinue DP benefits, as long as their employees have access to equal marriage.

    CERTAINLY, there are many many factors which go into the marriage decision other than the legal access issue. Look at Cuomo, Gov of NY who is not married but has a long time DP Girlfriend (who recently found out she had breast cancer…) It seems they have access to marriage, but have decided against it for them, and they don't have marriage discrimination as a factor. I don't begrudge people who chose not to marry. I only acknowledge that DP benefits were created to try to right the wrong of Marriage discrimination, and in places where that discrimination is no longer at play, I think it is fair for employers to require marriage for health insurance etc.

    If companies chose to continue to offer DP benefits, I am fully in support of this. But I don't want us to start dissing on companies who don't make this same choice.

    As for nationwide marriage discrimination, let's hope this is moot by July 1!

    As for lack of employment protections, I still think there is value to coming out, and if you get fired, make a national case out of it. Let's shame those employers who have unfair work practices, even when they are legal.

  • 14. scream4ever  |  May 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I really hope that they've been paying attention to what's been going on in Texas and how much a ruling is really needed at this point, both with the lawsuit regarding the FMLA and the anti-marriage bill in the legislature.

  • 15. sglaser2  |  May 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Agree we should't be dissing companies that went out of their way to do the right thing.

    We should ensure these companies understand the implications of changing things now and that they carefully consider the situation. It would make a lot sense for companies to wait a bit before changing anything. Things are likely to get confusing after the decision as our enemies react in various ways.

    Also, a reasonable grace period seems warranted. Marriage should be a joyous occasion and not something that happens "under the gun". I don't think anybody wants to be in a "get married this month or lose healthcare" situation.

  • 16. sglaser2  |  May 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Texas GOP has a hissy fit and declares that they will keep fighting…
    http://www.joemygod.blogspot.com/2015/05/texas-st

  • 17. 1grod  |  May 15, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Try this <a href="http://:http://www.dallasvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/265460499-05-15-15-House-Republican-Letter.pdf” target=”_blank”>:http://www.dallasvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/265460499-05-15-15-House-Republican-Letter.pdf
    and http://www.dallasvoice.com/rep-israel-releases-st

  • 18. sfbob  |  May 15, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    They have vowed to support the definition of marriage contained in Texas' state constitution even if that definition is overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States next month. They have therefore vowed to ignore the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

    I assume that when Texas state legislators are sworn in, their oath includes a promise to defend the constitution of the United States as well as their own state's constitution. In other words they have signaled their intent to violate their oath of office.

  • 19. 1grod  |  May 15, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Richard Whittaker suggests that the Republicans have two bases. The death of the bill appeases business, while the oft signed letter appeases their voting base.
    http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2015-05

  • 20. Elihu_Bystander  |  May 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    My local restaurant has a $15 charge for whining.

  • 21. VIRick  |  May 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    "…. why Luxembourg is so rich?"

    The facile answer is: Because it's neither France nor Germany, but straddles between the two. Plus, being an original member of what became the European Union, Luxembourg, along with Belgium, hosts (as neutral locales) much of its infrastructure.

  • 22. VIRick  |  May 15, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    After the Supreme Court overturned the Texas sodomy law in "Lawrence v. Texas," the Texas legislature turned right around and passed an identical ban. When the two sponsors shook hands, a third legislator shouted, "Bailiff, arrest those men! In Texas, it's illegal for a prick to touch an assh-le."

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  May 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    'It unlocked something in me I didn't realize I'd been holding on to': Gay man receives apology from former bully 20 YEARS after leaving school

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3083443/M

  • 24. 1grod  |  May 15, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    "It's really hurtful" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/14/texas-an

  • 25. 1grod  |  May 15, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    City an example for the state that allows discrimination: Laramie Wyo http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/14/laramie-

  • 26. bythesea66  |  May 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Didn't one of the lawyers for the case say that it obviously wouldn't be ruled upon before SCOTUS issues a ruling? He's not on the court but that would seem to be a strong sign that they will likely wait.

  • 27. VIRick  |  May 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Colombia: Interior Minister Vows to Make Same-Sex Marriage Legal

    On 14 May 2015, Colombian Interior Minister Juan Cristo vowed to soon make marriage for same-sex couples legal. "The government supports the fight for equality and we will adopt measures providing equal marriage rights for all," Cristo said at the Andes University in Bogota. He said he would not submit to the mercy of the majority on matters related to human rights, as "respect for equal rights is not optional."

    In June 2011, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled Congress had two years (until June 2013) to legalize marriage for same-sex couples or to provide for an equivalent of marriage. As Congress failed to pass a marriage equality bill during that interval, the courts then began approving marriages themselves. However, the country's Inspector-General requested the Court invalidate all such marriages approved in Colombia. As a result, to date, from June 2013, only 30 same-sex couples have been given a marriage license in Colombia.

  • 28. flyerguy77  |  May 16, 2015 at 12:05 am

    You guys don't get it. please stop whining because they are taking "too long" I HAVE AN IDEA go to law school, get a degree, become a attorney, become a judge…….

  • 29. DeadHead  |  May 16, 2015 at 6:37 am

    More hypocrisy from The Family Values Party… “Vermont State Senator Norman McAllister (R) was recently arrested after allegations surfaced that he pressured women for sex in exchange for rent, The Burlington Free Press reported. According to court papers, McAllister tried to trade sex for rent with two women, both of whom said no. He also told one of those women that she could lower her rent payment and make money for them both if she would agree to have sex with Mexican farm workers. A third victim also accuses McAllister of repeatedly sexually assaulting her since 2013. If convicted, he could face a sentence of up to life in prison.” GOP Senator Arrested on Multiple Counts of Sexual Assault, Refuses to Resign http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015/05/gop-senato

  • 30. bythesea66  |  May 16, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I have an idea. Please stop being insulting and obnoxious pointlessly.

  • 31. JayJonson  |  May 16, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Thanks, VIRick. I take it that it partakes of the general prosperity of France and Germany and profits from its role in the EU and Benelux and NATO, but does that in itself account for its wealth?

    It is routinely referred to as one of the smallest nations in the world (which, of course, can be verified); and also as one of the richest (which is never really explained).

    Is it a banking or financial center? It would seem to be too small to have much natural resources or manufacturing.

  • 32. TomPHL  |  May 16, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Yes it is a financial & banking center with the usual secrecy laws to attract cash from the shadier areas of capitalism. Since the 19th century it has also been a major player in the iron and later steel industries and related fields. It is in the middle of the richest band of western Europe, which curiously almost exactly corresponds to the territories of Lothar the grandson of Charlemagne.

  • 33. bythesea66  |  May 16, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Hmm like the Republican party almost everywhere.

  • 34. Sagesse  |  May 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

    In addition to what others have said, it is a tax haven. Where international profits go to not be taxed.

  • 35. Mike_Baltimore  |  May 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    You are correct.

    THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION
    ARTICLE 16. GENERAL PROVISIONS
    Sec. 1. OFFICIAL OATH. (a) All elected and appointed officers, before they enter upon the duties of their offices, shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:
    "I, _______________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of ___________________ of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God."

  • 36. Mike_Baltimore  |  May 16, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    "Never mind the man behind the curtain. I am the Great Oz. I can do whatever I wish!"

  • 37. VIRick  |  May 16, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I have another idea. I like bythesea66's idea and am seconding it, as someone else is whining while ASSuming that people here have not been to law school and/or do not have degrees and/or are not attorneys.

  • 38. VIRick  |  May 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Jay, according to its corporate homepage, ArcelorMittal Steel Luxembourg is the world's leading integrated steel and mining company, and the largest private employer in the Grand-Duchy. It has facilities in Bissen, Bettembourg, Dudelange, Differdange, Belval, Schifflange, Rodange, Dommeldange, Esch-sur-Alzette, Cofralux, and Sotel (the electric transmission facility) all in the Grand-Duchy, as well as facilities in Cleveland OH, Burns Harbor IN, and Indiana Harbor IN (the latter being the largest integrated steel manufacturing facility in North America) in the USA, plus multiple facilities in India. The company was formed by Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian steel magnate based in the UK, when he merged Mittal Steel with Luxembourg-based Arcelor. The merged company remains headquartered in Luxembourg.

    Again, because Luxembourg is neither France nor Germany, it does attract a certain amount of financial activity from both. However, it should not be confused with Liechtenstein, whose per-capita wealth is actually higher, a wealth which is generated almost exclusively by financial dealings with funny-money. Instead, Luxembourg Ville is the de facto "capital city" of the EU, surrounded as it is by scores of EU facilities with staff from all over Europe. Its grand-allée, running right past the Ducal Palace and Parliament, is named after one of my direct ancestors, an individual who played a key role in assuring Luxembourg's independence from both France and Germany (and the Dutch House of Orange).

  • 39. GregInTN  |  May 16, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Yes, sfbob, according to Article VI of the US Constitution:

    "…the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution"

  • 40. ianbirmingham  |  May 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Church of Scotland to hold final vote on gay ministers – The assembly, which opens on Saturday, will vote to adopt as church law the ordination of ministers in same-sex civil partnerships. If that is approved another vote will be held on Thursday in relation to ministers in same-sex marriages.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-32760416

  • 41. JayJonson  |  May 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks, VIRick, TomPHL, and Sagasse (below). I understand the tiny country's wealth better now.

  • 42. Sagesse  |  May 17, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Coming next week, in addition to the vote in Ireland.

    Political Horizons: Anxious lawmakers face first vote on same-sex marriage bill [New Orleans Advocate]

    "If Louisiana legislators have put any bill in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” category, it would be the “Marriage and Conscience Act….”

    "With about three-and-a-half weeks left in this legislative session, the measure will get a hearing Tuesday in the House Civil Law and Procedure committee.

    "Civil Law committee hearings generally are as quiet as an appellate court, except the members don’t wear robes. The rhetoric is technical and the tone is mild. Chairman Abramson acknowledges that Tuesday’s hearing may be somewhat louder."
    http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/multimedia/p

  • 43. Sagesse  |  May 17, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Not new news, but the AG in Alabama continues to sing the same tune.

    Alabama Attorney General says citizens, not Supreme Court, should decide gay marriage laws [al.com]
    http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2015/

    "Strange, a Republican who was elected in November to a second term as attorney general, spoke at the Madison County Republican Men's Club monthly breakfast in Huntsville today."

    Republican Men's Club… Is this the 21st century?

  • 44. RemC_Chicago  |  May 17, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Federal government responds to Gambia's throat-slitting threats: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/05/16/susan-r

  • 45. Sagesse  |  May 17, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Also not new news, but history worth revisiting. The article has a link to the Baker v Nelson brief to the Supreme Court.

    The Same-Sex Couple Who Got a Marriage License in 1971 [New York Times]

    "Long before the fight over same-sex marriage began in earnest, long before gay couples began lining up for marriage licenses, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell decided to wed.

    The year was 1967. Homosexuality was still classified as a disorder, sodomy was illegal in nearly every state, and most gay men and lesbians lived in fearful secrecy."
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/us/the-same-sex

  • 46. Sagesse  |  May 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Something to watch… 'watch' as in follow the story, and 'watch' as in program the DVR, if you're so inclined.

    Dan Savage's New Sitcom Will Destroy Us All [Daily Beast]
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/17/

  • 47. VIRick  |  May 17, 2015 at 11:30 am

    "…. she could lower her rent payment and make money for them both if she would agree to have sex with Mexican farm workers."

    Oy, such a deal!!

  • 48. VIRick  |  May 17, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Sagesse, here's an alternate question:

    Given the Republicans' recent legislative track record regarding women's choice, women's health, and women's rights, why would any female voluntarily want to join a tired old Republican Men's Club??

  • 49. VIRick  |  May 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Chile Marcha por la Igualdad y los Derechos de la Comunidad Gay

    An estimated crowd of more than 50,000 turned out yesterday, 16 March 2015, in Santiago for a march in support of marriage equality in Chile.

    The march, organized by by the Movement of Integration and Sexual Liberation (MOVILH) and the Movement for Sexual Diversity (MUMS), ended at the presidential palace of La Moneda, with speeches from various activists and political leaders. ‚ÄčThe demonstrators urged the government to implement the Gender Identity Bill, currently being debated in the Chilean Senate. They also recalled the murders of five people in 2014 because of their sexual orientation with a short ceremony during the march.

    Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a bill into law recognizing civil unions between same-sex couples on 13 April (to be implemented from 22 October 2015), while a second piece of legislation is already currently pending on legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. The LGBT movement in Chile has made great advances in recent years, as they now are protected by anti-discrimination laws covering employment. Gay people also can serve openly in the Army, gay men are allowed to donate blood, and lesbian couples can have access to in-vitro fertilization treatments.

  • 50. VIRick  |  May 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    1971 Case of Same-Sex Couple Receiving Marriage License Reverberates Today

    Via "The New York Times:"

    Long before the fight over same-sex marriage began in earnest, long before gay couples began lining up for marriage licenses, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell decided to wed. The year was 1967. Homosexuality was still classified as a disorder, sodomy was illegal in nearly every state, and most gay men and lesbians lived in fearful secrecy.

    But from the age of 14, eyeing young men in his father’s barbershop, Mr. McConnell dreamed of living “happily ever after” with a partner. In 1970, in Minneapolis, Mr. Baker and Mr. McConnell became the first same-sex couple known to apply for a marriage license. Turned down by Hennepin County, they fought to the United States Supreme Court, where they eventually lost their case in a one-sentence dismissal that has reverberated in federal courts and played an indirect role in pushing same-sex marriage to the high court this year.

    The couple, though, did not give up. With some sleight of hand involving a legal change to a gender-neutral name, they obtained a marriage license in another Minnesota county, and in 1971, in white bell-bottom pantsuits and macramé headbands, they exchanged vows before a Methodist pastor and a dozen guests in a friend’s apartment.

    In November 2014, more than four decades later, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals cited the 1972 Supreme Court ruling in Baker v. Nelson as precedent that federal courts should defer to the states on same-sex marriage, while other federal courts had disagreed. In a historical twist, the couple’s loss in 1972 helped create the circuit-court split that led the Supreme Court to consider the issue this April. A ruling is expected in June.

  • 51. Sagesse  |  May 17, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Beats me. But they do, and it's a separate question :).

    A woman choosing to be a Republican is making her own choice. Being excluded is not something she does, it is something that is done to her.

  • 52. A_Jayne  |  May 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    You called that right! Republican women do not want to enter into the Republican Men's Club – but not because it is old and tired.

    Women who support Republican causes want simply to continue to be the "delicate little flowers" the men in their lives tell them they are. They resent women who are strong and powerful, apparently believing that personal power is a zero-sum game – when some women have it, there's less available for the men who are entitled to it, and when the men in their lives lose power, their own status (as the feminine attachment of that man) is diminished.

    (I will grant that some Republican-supporting women are happy to have personal power, as long as it never exceeds the power of the man in her life, because she would not ever usurp him that way.)

  • 53. brchaz  |  May 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Former Florida governor Jeb Bush reiterated in a new interview that he doesn't believe that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics

  • 54. Fortguy  |  May 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Another good postmortem of HB 4105:

    Christopher Hooks, Texas Observer: The Strange Death and Legacy of House Bill 4105

    My take is that if the House leadership really, really wanted this bill to pass, they would have nursed it along and guided it through every step of the process. Now that it has failed, they are all shouting at the top of their lungs how they're true believers in keeping marriage a straight privilege. The Tea Party crazies will try to resurrect Bell's bill however they can. The more pragmatic GOPers including Speaker Straus' leadership team want to tell their primary base back home that they fought the good fight, lost, and that the time has come to move on to other issues where they can advance the conservative agenda more effectively. Their worst nightmare would have been if HB 4105 became law and threatened the 2017 Houston Superbowl. A state-sanctioned Alabama-style constitutional crisis playing out in national news late in the 2016 season during the November general election would have been a nightmare for them.

  • 55. scream4ever  |  May 17, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Indeed. It's all grandstanding at this point.

  • 56. JayJonson  |  May 18, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Justice Ginsburg presides over another same-sex wedding. In doing so, she emphasizes the CONSTITUTION of the United States, prompting members of the audience to great applause, believing that she is hinting at the decision forthcoming in Obergefell.
    http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/

  • 57. wes228  |  May 18, 2015 at 6:24 am

    The Supreme Court will be announcing opinions in argued cases today at 10:00AM. I know there is little to no chance we'll be seeing Obergefell today, but I'm still getting tingly knowing that it is theoretically a possibility!

  • 58. JayJonson  |  May 18, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Also see interesting analysis of Irish referendum on marriage equality by an Irish Times columnist in the NYTimes. He says the referendum will pass because of the Roman Catholic Church's lack of any moral authority after all the revelations of clergy sexual abuse and because the Ireland is a close-knit country where gay men and lesbians have become "us" instead of "them." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/18/opinion/ireland

  • 59. NorthernAspect  |  May 18, 2015 at 7:30 am

    So I'm guessing Courts in Colombia don't have the power to strike down laws that are unconstitutional? Just wondering what the mechanism is. I would have thought that marriage equality became the law of the land after the deadline imposed by the Constitutional Court (June 2013).

  • 60. NorthernAspect  |  May 18, 2015 at 7:32 am

    What is an Inspector-General and on what grounds did he request that the Court invalidate marriages permitted by Courts? Did the Court hear his argument? If so, have they made a ruling?

  • 61. Sagesse  |  May 18, 2015 at 7:37 am

    And in Canada's 'national newspaper' (coincidentally, my local paper as well) from today's front page.

    Irish support for same-sex marriage a questioning of faith as referendum looms [Globe and Mail]
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/irish-s

  • 62. VIRick  |  May 18, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Colombia's Constitutional Court IS that nation's highest court. And yes, they declared the ban on same-sex marriage in Colombia unconstitutional in June 2011 and gave Colombia's legislature two years (until June 2013) to change the law. The legislature refused to do so within that time-frame. So, the courts then began marrying individual couples who requested it. The law has still not been changed, and as a result, the Inspector-General (think Grand Inquisitor) then challenged the court's actions in approving said marriages of same-sex couples, resulting in a stand-off.

    I was encouraged by the new report that the Interior Minister, who represents Colombia's administration, has now decided to push forward with implementing new legislation to conform with the court ruling. Hopefully, this action will end the current stand-off.

    One major difference between the Anglo system of governance and that of the codified Latin system is that under the codified system of law, even though a law has been declared unconstitutional by the courts, it must still be legislatively changed to conform with the court's ruling(s), a process which is not necessarily automatic. In Argentina, they were lucky. The legislature (and president) beat the court's decree deadline by one week. In both Chile and Luxembourg, the courts ruled in advance that the newly-passed law was constitutional BEFORE the executive signed it. In Colombia and Mexico, the reverse has occurred. There, the legislatures have been dragging their feet despite multiple court rulings, rulings stretching back to 2007 and 2009 respectively. However, in both countries, given the precedent of the many court rulings, marriage equality is inevitable. It's just a matter of time.

    Both Colombia and Mexico are "suffering" from RBG's concern, that is, that the courts are too far ahead of the general population and their elected representatives and are, in fact, on the very leading edge of it, pushing the envelope even further. However, unlike the USA, the courts in many Latin countries have gladly taken on that leadership role.

  • 63. VIRick  |  May 18, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Actually, the courts sort of ignored him for a while, and refused to hear his argument, while approving a number of additional marriages, despite his protestations. But, in my opinion, the Constitutional Court does need to clarify their rulings by ruling again (in a different case), declaring yet again that marriage equality truly means marriage equality, a point they have consistantly adhered to since mid-2011.

  • 64. wes228  |  May 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

    6 opinions were announced today–an unusually high number. Although none of them were particularly juicy.

    28 decisions remain! #obergefell_countdown !!!

  • 65. Sagesse  |  May 18, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Telling stories.

    Sam Ciccone, a Champion of Gay Police Officers, Dies at 71 [New York Times]
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/18/nyregion/sam-ci

  • 66. Silvershrimp0  |  May 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I'm inclined to say they Obergefell won't be on the absolute last day. I think the conventional wisdom is that everyone knows how the court will rule and it won't be much of a surprise. Burwell on the other hand will probably be the last decision announced.

  • 67. Jaesun100  |  May 18, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Yup, I believe that was a good sign…….

  • 68. Steve27516  |  May 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

    It's just so amazing to think that within the next 43 days … we will find ourselves living in a better US of A that, not so long ago, we thought we would never see during our lifetimes. Countdown, indeed!
    I participated as a witness in the marriage of two dear friends this past weekend. Here in North Carolina. Wow.

  • 69. VIRick  |  May 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Steve, and one more. Unlike Wisconsin (now facing federal lawsuits over the matter), North Carolina, on their own accord, just began issuing revised birth certificate forms so that same-sex couples can immediately and directly list themselves as the two parents of their new-born.

  • 70. GregInTN  |  May 18, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I do think the reporter was somewhat sloppy in the phrasing "…the case the Supreme Court is considering whether to decide if same-sex marriage is constitutional."

    I don't believe anyone in the cases now before the court is arguing that allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the Constitution. The question is whether the Constitution requires it.

    Certainly there are some folks who are proposing an amendment to prohibit states from allowing same-sex couples to marry but that is not the matter before the Court at this time.

  • 71. scream4ever  |  May 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Also, keep in mind that they may want to end early and thus issue their final decisions before June 29th, which is what happened when Windsor was handed down the day before the last scheduled day of session.

  • 72. Sagesse  |  May 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    The Nombies and other right wingnuts will be so deliciously displeased.

  • 73. scream4ever  |  May 18, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I believe they will make it public when the plan to release the decision 48 hours beforehand, as was the case with Windsor.

  • 74. guitaristbl  |  May 18, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Burwell is going for the federal government IMO, this time Kennedy will save the day though.

    The other interesting thing is that Kennedy is now the judge who has written the least opinions till now, meaning he will be writing quite a few in the future.

  • 75. VIRick  |  May 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Yet more stories, but on the other side of the spectrum:

    Former Escort Service Owner Pens Tell-All: Sen. Larry Craig Liked His Rent-Boys Butch

    Former DC escort service owner Henry Vinson pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges back in 1990, and served five years in a minimum security prison. Twenty years later, he has finally published a tell-all memoir entitled, "Confessions of a D.C. Madam; The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail," in which he claims that then-Rep. Larry Craig (R-ID) preferred that his rent-boys be "quite masculine."

    Vinson employed up to 20 escorts on a given night in this “extremely lucrative” business. Not wanting to pin down an exact number to his profits, Vinson did mention one frequent customer who would spend $20,000 a month on his escorts. “Of course, in the ’80s that was a lot of money.” (According to a friend who was in the same business during the same time-interval, with the standard rate of $400 per hour for an "anything goes" house-call, there would have had to have been 50 such calls in a given month in order to run up such a tab).

    Rich in the kind of sordid drama one would expect, Vinson’s book names names. Then-Rep. Larry Craig, he writes, “became a 'frequent flier' of my escort service” and “preferred escorts who were quite masculine.” Although he claims he received many threats of blackmail from many of his powerful clients, Vinson’s business was in full operation until the Secret Service raided his home, his sister’s home, and his mother’s home in 1989. And the rest is history.

    In 2007, Larry Craig was subsequently busted for soliciting in the men's room of the Minneapolis airport. He did not seek re-election to the Senate in 2008 and is now a lobbyist for the oil industry. Last year, Craig was ordered to repay over $240K in campaign funds that he had used in his soliciting defense.

    In the meantime, in his "honor," and reflective of all the activity, we've unofficially re-named the elegant lower-level men's room at DC's Union Station (quite conveniently located just two blocks from the US Senate Building) the Larry Craig Memorial Men's Room.

  • 76. JayJonson  |  May 19, 2015 at 6:33 am

    A Northern Ireland bakery has been found guilty of sexual orientation discrimination for refusing to bake a cake with the slogan "support marriage equality." http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/asher

    Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that does not have marriage equality (except for, I believe, a few islands). A bill to authorize marriage equality narrowly failed there earlier this year. The (lower c) conservative government has proposed a "conscience clause" that would allow businesses to discriminate by refusing to provide services for a same-sex wedding.

    Some pundits think that the guilty verdict in the bakery case may negatively affect the referendum on marriage equality in the Republic of Ireland.

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