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Archives – September, 2013

Lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban filed in state court

A new lawsuit was filed in state court in Pennsylvania challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Continue 4 Comments September 26, 2013

Judge expands scope of Ohio marriage equality lawsuit

The lawsuit will now pertain to all couples in similar situations to the two who were previously granted relief.

Continue September 26, 2013

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 September 25, 2013

Senate unanimously confirms gay judicial nominee to Federal Circuit

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill
Yesterday, the Senate unanimously confirmed the first out gay judge to sit on a federal appeals court. The vote to confirm Todd Hughes was 98-0 and according to reports, there was little to no discussion of Hughes’ sexual orientation during the floor debate.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where Hughes was nominated, has jurisdiction over certain kinds of cases “including international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, certain money claims against the United States government, federal personnel, veterans’ benefits, and public safety officers’ benefits claims,” so cases involving LGBT rights are unlikely to be appealed there.

As Think Progress has noted, earlier attempts made by President Obama to appoint judicial nominees to federal appeals courts have been blocked:

[…]Obama‚Äôs first attempt to nominate an openly gay man to a federal appeals court was thwarted by 18 months of Senate obstruction, until Edward DuMont finally withdrew his nomination. Another nominee who would be the first openly gay black man on the federal bench is now facing opposition from his own home-state senator, Marco Rubio (R-FL).

President Obama has nominated a record number of out LGBT people to federal judgeships, but until yesterday the Senate had only confirmed judges for some lower courts. Fifty judicial nominees are awaiting Senate confirmation.

September 25, 2013

Marriage equality updates from Indiana and Arizona

A majority of Indianans opposes an anti-marriage equality amendment, and a fourth Arizona city approves civil unions.

Continue 1 Comment September 25, 2013

Updated: LGBT legal orgs file brief in support of marriage equality with New Mexico Supreme Court

NCLR, the ACLU and the ACLU of New Mexico make the case for marriage equality before the state’s supreme court.

Continue September 24, 2013

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