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Equality news round-up: Idaho, Illinois, Greece

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

A quick round-up of news from late last week on this Veterans Day:

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four same-sex couples in a federal court in Boise, Idaho, seeking to invalidate the state’s marriage equality ban.  From NCLR’s press release:

The couples, all from Boise, include university instructors, a teacher of deaf children, and a military veteran who served with the Idaho National Guard in Iraq. Three of the couples are raising children together.

The lawsuit argues that Idaho’s laws barring same-sex couples from marrying and prohibiting the state from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states violates the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Windy City Times reports that the status of two unresolved marriage equality lawsuits in Illinois is now uncertain after the passage of a pro-marriage equality piece of legislation:

Darby v. Orr, the lawsuit filed by several area couples against the Cook County Clerk’s Office, might still be pending, despite the passage of same-sex marriage legislation Nov. 5.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs had said they would move to dismiss the lawsuit should SB10, the Religious Fairness and Marriage Equality Act, be signed into law. Gov. Pat Quinn announced that he would sign the bill Nov. 20. As late as Nov. 5, James Bennett—Midwest regional director for Lambda Legal, which is representing the plaintiffs along with ACLU Illinois—said Darby is “moot.”

But he and other attorneys began to have more conversations about the later start date of SB10. The legislation, as originally written, called for a start date 30 days after the governor’s signature. But the bill passed through the House during a veto session, with less than a three-fifths majority in the legislature. According to the Illinois State Constitution, that means the legislation can’t take effect until June 1, 2014, which is now the earliest Illinois same-sex couples can marry.

Bennett said Nov. 7 that the legal team was weighing options in order to consider whether the lawsuit might be able to prompt marriages to begin sooner. By not being able to marry until June 1, “the couples are still being harmed,” according to Bennett.

“We’re certainly not automatically dismissing the lawsuit while there is still a constitutional violation going on,” said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. “We are discussing our options with our clients.”

And in Europe, the European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that civil unions cannot be restricted to different-sex couples in its consideration of a challenge to a Greek ‘life partner’ legal union that excluded gays:

Judges in Strasbourg said that authorities in Orthodox Christian Greece had not offered “convincing and weighty reasons capable of justifying the exclusion of same-sex couples” when passing a 2008 law.

Grigoris Vallianatos and Nikolaos Mylonas, two Greek gay men, alleged with three other couples that the law infringed their right to respect for their private and family life, a clause in the European Convention on Human Rights, and amounted to unjustified discrimination.

The court noted that European states have no obligation to provide some form of legal recognition for gay relationships.


  • 1. Bruno71  |  November 11, 2013 at 9:22 am

    A somewhat frightening take on the Illinois vote, portraying it as unsure until the last moment:

  • 2. Dann  |  November 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Another bad day over at NOM headquarters! 🙂

  • 3. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Tomorrow's going to be a big downer for them too, when Hawaii's marriage equality bill officially passes. 🙂

  • 4. Zack12  |  November 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm
    Article that fills me with joy for the same sex couples in Hawaii but also anger knowing that $#@ McDermott is going to file a lawsuit the minute Abercrombie signs the bill to try and make this law moot.
    Here's hoping the judge gives it the thought it deserves and trashes it.

  • 5. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    It smacks of desperation – it reserves the decision on same-sex marriage to the legislature, the default at the time was no same-sex marriage so that's what's been in effect, and now the legislature voted. McDermott needs to suck up and deal.

  • 6. Zack12  |  November 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Sadly he and the other bigots won't. No surprises that the Hawaii GOP and the bigoted Democrats who voted no with him are all behind his efforts.
    They won't win but they will sure do their best to make misery for those they hate.

  • 7. Bruno71  |  November 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Go ahead and try to get the law overturned, thereby stripping away any and all possibility of "religious exemptions" that were contained therein, and letting a different court–the 9th Circuit–legalize marriage equality in Hawaii. Not a good move even if it works, really.

  • 8. Zack12  |  November 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    It won't work in Hawaii,I do fear that in some other places we will see Jim Crow laws aimed at the LGBT community pass once the bans are struck down.

  • 9. Dr. Z  |  November 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    At which point Kennedy is going to have to stop dancing around the issue and acknowledge that LGBT are a suspect class. If the anti-trans initiative in California passes that will force the issue too.

  • 10. SoCal_Dave  |  November 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I haven't seen the actual wording of the HI amendment in dispute, but on its face it just sounds nonsensical that you would authorize the legislature to make a decision but then tell them they can only decide one way. Huh??

  • 11. Zack12  |  November 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Exactly,McDermott and others want their bigotry set in stone,not going to happen.

  • 12. Brian  |  November 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    If it is imposed by the courts the bogus exemptions are mute. A court ruling would be better.

  • 13. Zack12  |  November 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I'll say this,if a judge does decide to grant a TO and we have to take it to the 9th instead,the bigots in Hawaii gave us plenty of ammo to use to show the ban is based on nothing more then animus.
    You won't be able to make it through the whole thing. Trust me though,out of all the bigoted legislators we heard from and the public testimony given,in 11 minutes she managed to surpass all of them,including McDermott.
    It really is one of the worst speeches I've ever seen directed towards us and there is no way anyone could sit through that and not conclude the bans aren't motivated by animus.

  • 14. Dann  |  November 12, 2013 at 6:23 am

    I just watched the above video clip. Awful! Simply disgusting!

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