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Equality news round-up: Updates from Missouri, Maryland, and a new anti-gay bill in the US House of Representatives

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– The Salt Lake Tribune profiled “the man behind Utah’s same-sex marriage lawsuit”.

– A Republican House Representative has introduced a bill that would effectively prohibit the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages if the couple lives in a state where the marriage isn’t considered legal, regardless of where the ceremony took place.

– A lawsuit in Missouri alleges the governor’s order allowing same-sex couples to file joint tax returns is unconstitutional.

– Lawyer Ari Ezra Waldman discusses the legality of same-sex marriages in Utah after the Supreme Court has issued a stay.

– Maryland’s legislature could take up a bill banning so-called “ex-gay” therapy, along with a transgender rights bill.

Help us travel to Denver this spring to cover oral arguments in the Utah marriage equality case. You won’t regret it, and you can help EqualityOnTrial be a part of history in the making. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to EqualityOnTrial in the new year to help us continue this mission–any amount helps!


  • 1. Richard Weatherwax  |  January 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    In re the lawsuit in Missouri: Does either the "Missouri Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission" or the "Missouri Family Policy Council" claim to be harmed by the state accepting jointly filed tax returns from same-sex couples?

  • 2. sfbob  |  January 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I suppose a better question would be HOW do the plaintiffs claim to be harmed by the state accepting jointly filed tax returns from same-sex couples? Is it their delicate sensibilities which are harmed by contemplating the idea that gay and lesbian couples are being given some degree of respect? Are the presidents of the organizations losing sleep worrying that the state is perhaps losing tax revenues? (Or not.) The linked article notes that Missouri's tax code is tied to the federal tax code. If that's the case, then in light of Windsor why would the state even have the choice of whether or not to treat same-sex couples' tax returns the same way as the federal government does?

  • 3. davep  |  January 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Someone ought to explain to them that simply feeling annoyed and frustrated because your irrational personal prejudices are no longer being given force in civil laws is NOT "harm".

    "The Constitution cannot control such prejudices but neither can it tolerate them. Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect." – U.S. Supreme Court, 1984

  • 4. Christian  |  January 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    That quote coming from the same Court that issued in Bowers, ironically

  • 5. Mackenzie  |  January 11, 2014 at 11:01 am

    My state has a slew of hot messes in it. One of our state Senators put forward a bill to protect employees from workplace discrimination for those that own firearms -_-. Our Senate did however manage to pass a bill to protect LGBTQ people in the work place last minute a year ago. It remains to be seen if similar or greater progress can be made this year.

  • 6. Richard Weath erwax  |  January 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Re the entry in which Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) introduced a bill that would prohibit the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages if the couple lives in a state where the marriage isn’t considered legal. Rep. Weber says, "The 10th Amendment was established to protect state sovereignty and individual rights from being seized by the Federal Government."

    Rather than protecting individual rights, Rep Weber is trying to use the 10th Amendment to seize rights from the individual?

  • 7. sfbob  |  January 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    In the unlikely event Weber's bill were to become law, it would immediately be taken to court where the obvious question would be asked: How could a law preventing federal recognition of these, and only these, marriages possibly pass constitutional muster? What legitimate basis could be used to justify such a thing? The point really is that Weber is just not very bright and has very little conception of what the Constitution does and does not mean.

  • 8. Dr. Z  |  January 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Weber admitted on TV that he hasn't even read Windsor.

  • 9. Deeelaaach  |  January 12, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Rather he has his own conception of what it means. Occasionally I make the point that everyone is entitled to an opinion. But not everyone has actual facts to back up that opinion.

    For example, some people say that marriage equality is not constitutional. When they make that argument, I ask them to point to the words "marriage," "God," "heterosexual," "homosexual," in the Constitution. That usually either gets them to shut up or to start scrambling for other (non-constitutional) explanations. Like God and the Bible. They forget this is a secular government – apparently by design, so they have to resort to extra-Constitutional arguments.

  • 10. bythesea  |  January 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    "Weber is just not very bright" Indeed.

  • 11. grod  |  January 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Maryland's D. Gansler said Maryland would recognize Utah's 1400 same-sex marriages in a letter to HRC said doing so moves toward "fulfilling the Constitution's promise of equal protection under the law." In an interview with the Sun, Gansler said that many states where ssm is legal have not settled whether they will recognize unions from elsewhere. "Many states don't have that opinion because they weren't ever asked about it," he said .,0,3917649.story

    Read more:

  • 12. Zack12  |  January 11, 2014 at 2:40 am

    By the way,if you thought Randy Weber and others were bad,legislator Jan Pauls in Kansas takes the cake,and yes,she's a Democrat.
    That's right folks,even when dealing with brutal crimes like human trafficking,the bigots still want to make sure that gays and lesbians can be discriminated against.
    No surprise with Jan though,she helped co-author Kansas's ban on same sex marriage and led the charge to make sure sodomy laws stayed on the books.
    This move once again simply shows that they aren't opposed to gay marriage,they are opposed to our existence.

  • 13. Lymis  |  January 11, 2014 at 7:14 am

    I hope someone is collecting things like this for use in future lawsuits. This is a perfect example of why sexual orientation needs to be subject to heightened scrutiny under the law.

    This idiot essentially just said that organizations specifically set up to help victims of human trafficking should be able to kid gay kids forced into prostitution back onto the streets.

    If that isn't both clear evidence of animus AND proof that as a class, LGBT people cannot rely on the normal legislative and political process to protect us, I can't imagine what is. If the system can specifically exclude the most vulnerable among the people who are most victimized, purely because some of the groups they are licensing to help might object to them as people, with the full support of the legislature, that protection HAS to be mandated by the courts.

    Strict scrutiny. Well past time. Force orientation and gender identity into every damn anti-discrimination law in the country.

  • 14. Zack12  |  January 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Agree with you 100%. I will say other then Towleroad,this hasn't been covered as much and it should be.
    Because this is as bad as it gets and sad to say,with the bigot in the governor's office,Pauls will likely get her wish in getting protections for LGBT people removed,as Sam Brownback has a long and lengthy anti-gay history.
    This one angers me because I have a friend that works in cases like this. The victims of these crimes are already scared and hurt enough as it is,I can only imagine having the fear of people that are supposed to help you turning you away making it worse.
    It's disguisting,it truly is.

  • 15. Anthony  |  January 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I think that SCOTUS will elevate gays to the same status as women in the next case. However, I don't think we will get strict scrutiny because that seems to only apply to groups specifically spelled out in the Consititution (race, religion, etc.)

  • 16. bythesea  |  January 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Heightened/Intermediate scrutiny will do the job.

  • 17. Jordan  |  January 12, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Which is ridiculous. The constitution was written in a time when gays did indeed exist but were too fearful to be killed to express it. So we never had a chance to be counted.

  • 18. ebohlman  |  January 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Level of scrutiny has little to do with inclusion in anti-discrimination laws, since it only applies to cases against state actors whereas anti-discrimination laws primarily apply to non-state actors. Pretty much the only time they intersect is when you have something like Colorado's Amendment 2 that tries to prevent specific groups from being covered by anti-discrimination laws.

    The animus in the KS bill is so strong that it would probably fail rational basis review.

  • 19. Two Dads  |  January 12, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Who is this women and why arent LGBT organizations working with democratic leaders to get her out of office? Sometimes are battles should be as narrow as getting ONE elected official out of office, as that can make a huge difference in and of itself.

  • 20. Zack12  |  January 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    She's a long time Kansas legislator and sad to say,propably isn't going anywhere in the near future.
    All politics are local and sad to say,that in many states,many of the Democrats are no better then the Republicans when it comes to gay rights.

  • 21. Chuck in PA  |  January 13, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Be careful with your analogies and generalizations. While not every Democrat supports us, the great majority do. And it seems to be a larger majority every election. To say "Many of the Democrats are no better than the Republicans when it comes to gay rights" creates a false image of relative equality of bias in the two parties. Better to quantify the problem as, "some of the Democrats" or "a few Democrats," and then put our efforts into educating them or voting them out of office.

  • 22. Zack12  |  January 13, 2014 at 8:38 am

    All due respect,I've made it clear in the past the Republican party is the party of bigotry in most instances and that Democrats do support us in greater numbers,especially on a federal level.
    But I won't whitewash the fact that in some Democratic state parties (especially the South and Midwest) bigotry against LGBT people is alive and well.
    The Democrat running for governor in South Carolina has made it clear he opposes gay marriage yet the Democratic party is still rallying around him. Why should I pretend there is a difference between the two when it comes to that?

  • 23. Eric  |  January 13, 2014 at 9:35 am

    And let's not forget that when Democrats had the White House and the largest majorities in Congress in a generation, they did nothing to pass ENDA, nor repeal DOMA and DADT.

  • 24. Bruno71  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:19 am

    They did repeal DADT with those majorities. Unless you're making the distinction between 60 and 59 in the Senate after Kennedy died? But they did leave it for the very last minute.

  • 25. JayJonson  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

    The Congress from 2008 to 2010 squandered a historic opportunity to advance gay rights. This was partly because of the timidity of President Obama and because many of the Democrats were very conservative. Luckily, most of them were defeated in the 2010 election. Although the Democrats lost control of the House and lost some Senate seats, the Democrats who remained were much more sympathetic to gay rights than those who lost. In addition, the loss of the House emboldened President Obama to use executive power, including most significantly, the power of the Justice Department, to advance equal rights. Interestingly, his new commitment to actually doing something about equal rights–including marriage equality–rather than merely speaking about it probably accounts for his re-election victory. Although Obama almost screwed up DADT repeal by kowtowing to Gates, he was finally forced by gay supporters to pass DADT repeal during the lame-duck session because it finally became obvious that if he followed Gates's recommendation that he wait until after the study he insisted on, the Republicans who would control the House beginning in January 2011 would block it. Ironically, the repeal of DADT will be one of the great legacies of the Obama presidency, as will his unwavering support for equal rights after he "evolved" in 2012.

  • 26. Bruno71  |  January 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    They wanted to pass healthcare and put all of their eggs in that basket. LGBT rights were near the bottom of the list. And they were throwing the transgender community under the bus especially regarding ENDA. Now that our rights are a "winning" cause on the progressive side, they can hold pointless votes in the Senate.

  • 27. Eric  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I make the distinction that a number of service members were fired for being bay for an additional two years.

    ENDA, DOMA, and DADT could have all happened in the first 100 days of the administration, but didn't.

  • 28. Zack12  |  January 13, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Eric put it best,Democrats had a chance to pass several things when they were in control of Congress and chose not to.They didn't pass the DADT repeal until the last minute.
    Keep in mind many of the Democrats that got booted in 2010 were Blue Dogs,which means when it came to us,they were no better then Republicans.
    Heck,Obama dragged his feet until it became clear it would hurt politcally.
    We all know that the gains we've made would NOT have happened under Republicans,not a chance.
    But as someone who saw a Democratically controlled NY state senate spit in our faces in 09,I simply won't white wash the Democrats not so great history on this.
    Yes,Republicans are worse but at times,Democrats have been no better.

  • 29. Keith  |  January 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Our progress will come to a standstill if we lose the Senate in 2014.

  • 30. Zack12  |  January 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Indeed it will but let's be honest..with the House under Republican control until the end of this decade,nothing is going to get done either way.
    But it is still important to keep the Senate in Democratic hands for judicial nominations if nothing else.

  • 31. Eric  |  January 13, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    As opposed to the lack of progress we have now? What LGBT legislation do you expect to pass Congress before 2014?

    Let's be honest, Republican appointments in the judiciary have done more for gay rights during the Obama administration than Democrats in Congress.

    Both parties will sell out gays when politically expedient, it's about picking the lesser of two evils.

  • 32. Bruno71  |  January 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Right. And regarding lesser of 2 evils, if Republicans win the Senate and the Presidency, we could see some scary anti-LGBT bills actually have a shot at passing, like that dipshit DOMA Pt. Deux in the House that recently got introduced.

  • 33. Sagesse  |  January 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    From Texas?

    TEXAS: Judge Refuses Regnerus Brief Filed By Anti-Gay Christian Group

  • 34. Two Dads  |  January 12, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Love the joe my god site btw. So many LGBT blogs seem fixated on generating page views, and their comments section suffer as a result (I've read more homophobia, racism, bigotry, transphobia and fem bashing on towleroad than any conservative website). Joe my god has a zero tolerance policy for trolling and very easily bans trolls. Amazing display of intellect on there as well.

  • 35. JustMe  |  January 12, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Relax… the judge just said the case didnt need an amicus at the moment…

    "The Court finds the interests of the public, raised by Movant, are adequately represented by the parties in the case, and granting amici status to Movant would do nothing to aid this Court's evaluation of the legal issues in the underlying action"

  • 36. Steve  |  January 12, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Not on the merits though. He rejected it because it didn't present any legal arguments.

  • 37. JustMe  |  January 12, 2014 at 5:39 am

    No he rejected it because the case doesnt need an amicus at the moment…

  • 38. W. Kevin Vicklund  |  January 12, 2014 at 8:05 am

    …because it presented no legal arguments and the public interest concerns are adequately covered by the defendants. In other words, he rejected it not because the case didn't need an amicus, but because it didn't need *this* amicus.

  • 39. FYoung  |  January 13, 2014 at 8:46 am

    A Nigerian news outlet is reporting that President Goodluck Jonathan has signed into law a wide-ranging bill which not only criminalizes same sex marriage, but all cohabitation, meetings, gatherings and advocacy:

  • 40. FYoung  |  January 13, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Luxembourg to get marriage equality this year:

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