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Dueling Marriage Victories in the Midwest

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By Matt Baume

A huge victory in Oklahoma this week, with yet another marriage ban declared unconstitutional. Now comes the appeal, in the same federal circuit as the Utah case. We’ll take a look at what to expect. Plus, more progress across the country, from Indiana to Texas to Idaho and Georgia.

We’ve won another major victory. This time it’s Oklahoma, where a federal court ruled that banning marriage equality is unconstitutional. As in other states, the court rejected the state’s arguments about encouraging responsible procreation.

For now, the decision is stayed, pending appeal to the 10th circuit. That’s the same circuit as Utah, which is also appealing a pro-equality ruling. The Utah case is moving very quickly, so it will probably be heard before Oklahoma’s appeal. Or the cases could be consolidated.

There’s also a new lawsuit to consider in Utah. The state had previously announced that it would not recognize the marriage licenses that it issued. Now the ACLU has now announced its plan to sue the state, forcing it to recognize those licenses.

And there’s new polling data in Utah. A Salt Lake Tribune Poll shows public opinion for and against equality tied at 48 percent. This reflects a slow but steady climb in support dating back over two decades of data.

Meanwhile, there are several additional states facing major decisions in the coming weeks. We’re just one week away from a hearing in AFER’s federal lawsuit in Virginia. Ohio has appealed a ruling that required the state to recognize marriages on death certificates. And a lawsuit in Texas will move ahead after a judge declined to consolidate it with two other cases. The next hearing in that case is in February.

There’s also a lawsuit in Idaho. Last week, State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden asked the court to dismiss the suit. Also last week, Idaho lawmakers approved a rule that would require married LGBT couples to file separate tax forms.

We heard testimony on a marriage ban last week in Indiana, and we could see a vote any day now. Lawmakers are expected to pass the ban, which would send it to voters for approval in November.

And organizers in Georgia have unveiled a marriage equality plan. Public support is relatively low, 32 to 60 percent in the last poll. So the plan calls for a three-to-five year, ten million dollar public education campaign. Currently, Georgia Equality is fundraising for an initial “Why Marriage Matters” outreach project.

3 Comments

  • 1. Seth From Maryland  |  January 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Grrr!!!!!! Bad News in Indiana , Bosma just went extremist : Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma made the unusual move of directing the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage from the House Judiciary Committee to the House Elections and Appointment Committee today even though the former has already held a hearing with hours of public testimony.

    Why?

    The bill is stalling in the Judiciary Committee for lack of support and the new committee is more conservative and contains at least one Democrat who says he supports a ban, the AP reports:

    Bosma had promised publicly to let the ban run a normal course in the Legislature but took a more forceful role in advancing it amid concerns that it would die in committee. http://www.towleroad.com/2014/01/indiana-house-sp

  • 2. Anthony  |  January 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    File a federal lawsuit and shut this bigot down once and for all!!!!!

  • 3. davep  |  January 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    just received an email from Equality Florida with a notification that a SSM case has just been filed in FLORIDA, with six couples as plaintiffs.

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