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Six New Lawsuits Complicate Marriage Equality Fight


By Matt Baume

AFER’s marriage lawsuit in Virginia is picking up speed, with a faster schedule and new parties. We have new lawsuits this week in four different states. And one state’s Young Republicans break ranks with the state party to endorse the freedom to marry.

Big news in Virginia this week. A judge has granted AFER’s request for an expedited schedule, which means we’ll see opening briefs later this month, replies in April, and oral arguments at a hearing in May. And that’s not all. The judge has also allowed plaintiffs in a second Virginia case to intervene in AFER’s. That means those parties will lend their support to upholding last month’s victory.

But as the Virginia case speeds up, a lawsuit in Nevada is slowing down. The 9th Circuit has indefinitely postponed oral arguments in Sevcik v Sandoval, with no explanation.

Meanwhile, in Utah, plaintiffs in Evans v Utah case argued last week that the state should recognize the licenses issued after a pro-equality ruling in December. A ruling in that case could come at any time. And the 10th Circuit will hear an appeal of that prior pro-equality ruling in less than a month.

We’ll have a decision soon in a Michigan marriage case. With the trial concluding last week, the judge has indicated a timeframe of about two weeks for a ruling.

And we have six additional lawsuits to watch as of this week. The first is in Florida, where there were already two separate marriage cases. We have a new marriage lawsuit this week in South Carolina, another in Arizona, and three new marriage suits in Indiana.

The Oregon Young Republicans have voted overwhelmingly to support marriage equality, despite opposition from the state party. That’s consistent with national trends. New Pew research shows that 61 percent of Republicans under 30 support the freedom to marry. That’s compared with just 27 percent of Republicans over 50.


  • 1. Dr. Z  |  March 17, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    It's almost unbelievable how slow the Ninth Circuit is.

  • 2. ragefirewolf  |  March 18, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Were they this slow with Prop 8? I can't remember

  • 3. Dr. Z  |  March 18, 2014 at 6:53 am

    OMG yes. They wasted an entire YEAR referring the standing question to the California SC for a ruling as to whether had the right to defend Prop 8 in court, only to be slapped down by SCOTUS who said it was irrelevant what the CSC thought.

    Judge Walker issued his district court ruling on August 4, 2010. The Ninth Circuit finally issued its ruling on February 7, 2012. SCOTUS announced its decision on June 26, 2013. So the appeal at the Ninth Circuit actually took longer (18 months) than at the Supreme Court (17 months).

  • 4. Dr. Z  |  March 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Oh, and this was treated as an EXPEDITED case by the Ninth Circuit.

  • 5. ragefirewolf  |  March 18, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Thank you for expanding on that and explaining for me 🙂

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