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New Federal Rules for Recognizing Marriages


By Matt Baume

Marriage may return to Pennsylvania, despite a ruling two weeks ago that put licenses on hold. Organizers in North Carolina are mounting a challenge to the state’s marriage ban, but first they need to find a clerk willing to challenge the law. Plus new guidance from the Labor Department means benefit plans must recognize marriages in every single state.

Montgomery County Clerk D. Bruce Hanes is not giving up on marriage equality. Two weeks ago a Pennsylvania judge ruled that he had to stop issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. This effectively put marriage equality on hold until a court could rule on the Pennsylvania’s ban.

But now Hanes has announced that he will appeal that ruling. If he’s successful, marriages could resume. In the mean time, there’s still no clear word on whether the 174 licenses that he already issued must be recognized. A decision on the validity of Hanes’ actions is expected any day now.

We have a flurry of activity in the south and midwest. It’s full steam ahead in Arkansas, where Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected a ballot measure to overturn the state’s marriage ban, and then later approved it with modifications.

In North Carolina, organizers are looking for a clerk willing to issue a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples. If they can find one, it would be the first step in a putting together a lawsuit to overturn the state’s ban.

A new Elon survey in North Carolina shows support growing, but still shy of a majority.

An education campaign in Ohio is ramping up, with more groups signing on to the “Why Marriage Matters Ohio” initative. Visit to support their work.

And a similar campaign just launched in Arizona. Visit Why Marriage Matters for more on that.

We have a date for a hearing in Michigan’s equality lawsuit: October 16. A board in Alaska has ordered the state to recognize gay and lesbian partners of state employees, albeit with onerous restrictions that straight couples don’t have to meet.

And the US Labor Department has issued new guidance, making it clear that gay and lesbian couples’ marriages must be recognized by employer benefit plans, no matter what state they live in.

1 Comment

  • 1. College students divided &hellip  |  September 26, 2013 at 9:03 am

    […] issue back onto the ballot in November 2012, but voters rejected the effort against gay marriage.New Federal Rules for Recognizing MarriagesEquality on Trial […]

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