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Utah officials ask Supreme Court to hear challenge to same-sex marriage ban

First same-sex marriage case reaches Court post-Windsor.

Continue 56 Comments August 5, 2014

Another Florida judge holds state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional

Florida marriage ban struck down for third time.

Continue 116 Comments August 4, 2014

State Lawyers Ignore Public Support for Marriage

By Matt Baume

The rules have changed yet again this week in Colorado, with new rulings on marriage from multiple courts. New polls show growing support for equality in western states, but multiple Attorneys General have filed new briefs to stop gay and lesbian couples from marrying. And another Republican member of Congress has come out in favor of the freedom to marry.

The good news in Colorado is that yet another court has ruled that the state’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. This comes in a case filed on July 1 by couples seeking to end the state’s enforcement of its marriage ban. Federal District Judge Raymond P. Moore ruled in their favor but imposed a stay of one month, giving state Attorney General John Suthers time to appeal.

But Suthers already has his hands full with marriage cases. Earlier this month, he asked a federal court to stop Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall from issuing marriage licenses. This week the Colorado Court of Appeals denied that request, allowing the marriages to continue, but only in Boulder.

Wisconsin’s Attorney General, J. B. Van Hollen, has also been working to prevent couples from marrying. He filed a brief last week arguing that the U. S. Constitution can’t compel states to grant rights to its citizens. But a new survey in Wisconsin shows a sharp increase in support for the freedom to marry. According to the Marquette University poll, 56 percent of voters favor marriage equality, with just 37 percent opposed. Oral argument in the Wisconsin case has been rescheduled from August 13 to August 26.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox also filed an anti-gay brief last week. Fox claims that singling out gay and lesbian couples under a discriminatory law doesn’t constitute second-class citizenship.

And attorneys for seven couples in North Dakota have filed a motion for summary judgement. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has said that he’ll defend the marriage ban.

There will be no marriages in Florida for now. Two weeks ago a judge ruled that the state’s marriage ban is unconstitutional, but last week followed up with a ruling that it must still be enforced pending appeal. But there’s also some good news: Florida Representative David Jolly has become the eight Republican member of Congress to endorse the freedom to marry.

And finally this week, a new study from the Williams Institute shows that marriage equality would add $180 million to the economy of Texas. A judge ruled last February that Texas’ marriage ban is unconstitutional. That ruling is on appeal to the Fifth Circuit.

11 Comments July 28, 2014

Federal judge grants preliminary order invalidating Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban

Another win for marriage equality.

Continue 70 Comments July 23, 2014

Marriage Cases are Starting to Speed up

By Matt Baume

This week I’m in Pennsylvania, which gained the freedom to marry just a few months ago. We have big victories this week in Kentucky, and a ton of hearings coming up from one side of the country to the other. There’s a battle of wills and a surprise move in Colorado. And one of the Prop 8 lawyers is headed back to court — this time, as a judge.

It was in May that a federal judge ruled that Pennsylvania’s marriage ban was unconstitutional. Governor Tom Corbett decided not to appeal, and marriage has been legal ever since. A county clerk has repeatedly tried and failed to challenge the marriages in court. But just this week, the Third Circuit denied her request.

A judge in Kentucky has ruled that the state’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear argued that banning gay and lesbian couples from marrying encouraged straight couples to reproduce, but Judge John Heyburn called these arguments “not those of serious people.”

The case now moves on to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is already scheduled to hear five other marriage equality cases on August 6th. And the Ninth Circuit will hear three more cases on September 8th.

Boulder, Colorado County Clerk Hillary Hall continues to issue licences to gay and lesbian couples, despite Attorney General John Suthers’ insistence that the licenses are invalid. But in a surprise move, Suthers has now asked the Tenth Circuit to overturn the state’s marriage ban, and to issue a stay that would prevent any more licenses from being issued until the matter is resolved by the U. S. Supreme Court next year. In the mean time, six more couples have filed a new lawsuit over Colorado’s marriage ban.

Indiana is on the fast track to an appeal before the Seventh Circuit. The court has scheduled briefing to conclude in early August. Florida held a hearing this week, with a ruling due any day now. And officials in Jackson County, Missouri have announced they will not defend the state’s marriage ban.

And finally this week, congratulations to Terry Stewart, who was just nominated to serve on the First District Court of Appeal in California. Stewart, as Chief Deputy City Attorney for San Francisco, was instrumental in defending marriage equality from San Francisco’s 2004 marriages all the way through the Prop 8 case.

131 Comments July 7, 2014

Major Marriage Hearing Coming Up

By Matt Baume

Hi there. This week my marriage equality road trip takes me to Fargo, North Dakota this week, then on to Minneapolis. We have big news from four states in the Sixth Circuit this week. Plus a strong showing for the freedom to marry in a Colorado case.

North Dakota was one of many states to pass a marriage ban back in 2004. And ten years later, it was the last state to challenge its ban with a lawsuit. That case is now working its way through federal court. In the mean time, public support is rapidly growing. In 2004, support was at just 23%, but by 2012 that had nearly doubled to 40%.

There’s a major court date coming up for several states. On August Sixth, a federal appeals court will hear oral argument in five separate marriage cases, covering challenges in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. All of these cases are very different, but the court will hear them all on the same day.

The Tennessee case is quite limited, and for now just applies to the three plaintiff couples. The two Ohio cases cover out-of-state licenses and death certificates. The Kentucky case also concerns out-of-state licenses. The Michigan case is much more broad, covering the freedom to marry throughout the state. The case got a boost recently when some major Republican figures in Michigan filed a brief in support of the freedom to marry.

Organizers in Ohio are calling off an attempt to overturn that state’s marriage ban at the ballot. They’ll be unable to meet signature requirements in time. This was a controversial effort, with other Ohio equality groups favoring public education before going to the ballot. Public support for marriage equality has increased five percentage points in just the last year in Ohio, reaching 50%.

A federal judge heard oral argument last week in a challenge to Colorado’s marriage ban. District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree pointed out that fifteen judges have recently struck down similar bans in other states. He’s expected to rule soon.

79 Comments June 24, 2014

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