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Equality news round-up: News from Wisconsin, Texas, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Texas state seal– Houston, Texas’ City Council has passed a non discrimination ordinance that is LGBT-inclusive.

– Another Republican Congressman has announced that he supports marriage equality.

– ExxonMobil has again rejected a formal policy to prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers.

– Wisconsin’s supreme court has declined to hear a state challenge to their same-sex marriage ban. There is still another case, filed in federal court.


  • 1. MiscellanyMan  |  May 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Maine's Ethics Committee found that NOM should pay a record $50,250 fine. NOM's appealing, of course, so it will be a while before they have to pay, probably.

    Audio of the meeting should be here:
    I haven't listened to it yet. Could be fun.

  • 2. Reformed  |  May 29, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Eastman . . . said . . . NOM would file a complaint against HRC. (claiming they operated exactly the same way).

    So if I understand correctly, they are appealing the decision (they think they did nothing wrong), and will filing a complaint against HRC (they obviously don't think HRC did anything did nothing wrong). Can't put my finger on it, but something about this seems frivolous.

  • 3. KarlS  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    "They did the same thing we did so they must be punished!" (Don't ask me what kind of insanity drives someone to think that way).

  • 4. MiscellanyMan  |  May 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    If you read the reports that were filed before the hearing (which I recommend–it's fascinating reading) NOM's statement mentions (on page 7) how all the various pro-SSM organizations should have registered too, and acts like they're the only group being picked on. I read that in NOM's brief and was worried too.

    And then you read the Reply by Commission Staff, and, on Page 8, there's a section titled "NOM’s Claim of Discriminatory Enforcement " and the commission points out:

    "While NOM claims that these organizations opposing the people’s veto were similarly situated, NOM fails to point out that five of the six named organizations had registered with the Commission as either a ballot question committee or political action committee in 2009. These organizations, unlike NOM, disclosed some of their contributors and affirmatively described the remaining assets spent for political
    purposes as general treasury funds."

    So it looks like NOM was trying to make it look like nobody played fair that election when it turns out that HRC formed a PAC and everyone else filed the way NOM should have.

    tl;dr: Frivolous indeed!

    All the documents for the May meeting are here:

  • 5. david  |  May 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Breaking…. Gov Snyder wants this done…..MI May Become an Entire state that will protect LGBT from employment and housing discrimination.

  • 6. Rose  |  May 29, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    This is the same Governor who is fighting against Marriage Equality though, right? Interesting how he's NOT for discrimination, but is defending an UNCONSTITUTIONAL ban!!!

  • 7. davep  |  May 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    That's quite a mental disconnect. How does someone rationalize away the fact that denial of access to civil marriage >>DISCRIMINATES<< against this exact same group of citizens by denying them vast numbers of important legal rights and legal protections, while serving no legally or constitutionally valid purpose in doing so?

  • 8. FilbertB  |  May 29, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I thought the same thing. I suspect this is being driven by the business community as the article suggest -in trying to attract talent. There has been all kinds of articles lately about business development on the fast track in Michigan -with trade deals, conferences and more. I saw a presentation by the the state business development group in trying to lure top tech workers to MI. This says a couple of things to me -that business is far ahead of the Republican party on this issue – we saw that in AZ on "religious liberty" discrimination bill -and also I think it may very well come down to individuals -people who are Gay and lesbian who say, no I am not going to live in a state that discriminates against me -and our straight allies who may say the same thing.
    That still leaves the question of opposition to marriage equality. More speculation -but perhaps it is because he can say his opposition to marriage equality is not based in animus -that old routine -and appeasing an evangelical base -another old routine that I am personally weary of. I agree with how you framed this in your comment.

  • 9. Bruno71  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Marriage equality is less popular with the public than non discrimination laws. Simple as.

  • 10. KarlS  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Because it's a little more "icky".


    Read the comments on Yahoo stories sometime if you don't plan to have a meal anytime soon…some of those knuckledraggers can't read the words "marriage equality" without getting mental images of "disgusting" sexual activity (and, I suspect, the erection that goes with them).

  • 11. david  |  May 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Actually, he has avoided the whole Marriage issue by taking a gag order remaining silent and letting his AG do his dirty work

  • 12. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    There are now four different states that have ME AND a robust computer and/or high-tech industry:
    Massachusetts (Route 128 corridor)
    California (especially in Silicon Valley and various places)
    Washington state (Seattle area especially)
    Maryland (especially the I-270 corridor, and the Baltimore area medical communities [Hopkins, U of MD, etc.] )

    So go ahead Michigan and keep on discriminating against the GLBT community. There are other places we can go to for careers in the high tech industry, and have ME.

  • 13. Dr. Z  |  May 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    And Oregon. Intel has a huge footprint here.

  • 14. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 29, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks, Dr. Z.

    I should have stated "at least four" in case I missed some.

    And I should add Minnesota as having a large tech footprint. Also New York state (especially upstate), with Xerox and IBM.

  • 15. sfbob  |  May 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    It's very simple. He's against all forms of discrimination other than the form of discrimination he supports. (I hope I don't need to add a "snark" tag here.)

  • 16. Steve  |  May 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Probably just a ploy to win elections and drive away all voters – especially young ones – by not appearing 100% anti-gay. They know they've lost, so now they can give in on some of the small stuff. The same way they are now for Civil Unions, although they used to be against that too.

  • 17. sfbob  |  May 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    One odd thing going on: The article says that Snyder wants the legislature to pass a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's anti-discrimination law yet somehow he stopped short of saying whether he'd sign the legislation if it were to pass. Why would a governor want the legislature to pass a bill just so he could veto it?

  • 18. ebohlman  |  May 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    He probably wants them to pass it by a veto-proof majority so he can just sit on it and let it go into effect. That way he can still get all the benefits of its passage without alienating the hard-right base as much as he would if he signed it. Perfectly standard credit-grabbing move. What did they say about laws and sausages?

  • 19. david  |  May 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    That's why we need to pressure it to come to his desk before November's election

  • 20. KarlS  |  May 30, 2014 at 6:02 am

    They're both related to pork?

    ha ha

  • 21. JayJonson  |  May 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    There is absolutely no chance that the rabidly anti-gay Republican majority in the Michigan legislature would pass a nondiscrimination law. They, after all, are the ones that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to enforce and defend a law prohibiting and domestic partner benefits offered by municipalities. Luckily, that law has been enjoined from being enforced by a federal court.

  • 22. Richard L  |  May 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I'm so surprised by Orrin Hatch, the link is a story from Salt Lake. He either read the rulings or talked with Shelby and Kimball. Talk about dominos falling, this will just give cover for more republicans to realize what they have been doing, and realize they are on the wrong side. The trials have shone the light on the discrimination the bans put in place, and the arguments in favor of the bans are stupid. In anticipation of hearing something from the 10th, I listened to Kitchen v. Herbert, which will be posted before too long.

  • 23. Reformed  |  May 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Saying that he has "penned an excellent piece ", NOM, on their recent blog post includes parts of an article byJames Matthew Wilson at Crisis Magazine, including the following excerpt.

    …the inscription in law of homosexual couplings as “marriages” . . . cannot not change in any fundamental way how most persons will pursue the happiness to which they are by nature ordered.

    I'd like to enter that into the record as evidence. I would prefer to have that stated from a more credible organization. But, being on the record coming from NOM should come in handy if they are even allowed to darken the door of a courtroom having successfully inserted themselves into someone else's legal matter.

  • 24. Retired_Lawyer  |  May 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I have noticed that the nomblog records zero comments on each and every item listed, including the one described by Reformed, above. Does anyone have any thoughts on this phenomenon? It seem improbable that not one single reader had any comment on anything posted.

  • 25. StraightDave  |  May 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    1) They banned all comments, just to be safe
    2) They have no readers left
    3) They're just huddled in a corner in despair over how 2014 has come down on them

    Whatever…. any of these work fine for me

  • 26. Dr. Z  |  May 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    It's two hours into the election night party of a mediocre candidate who lost in a landslide, and whose buffet featured canned vienna sausages and iceberg lettuce.

  • 27. StraightDave  |  May 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I'm thinking Romney, when he took forever to come out and make a concession speech because he had never even entertained that possibility. He was literally speechless at that point.

  • 28. davep  |  May 30, 2014 at 9:39 am

    And for the most part, he seems to have remained that way ever since. Good.

  • 29. GregG  |  May 30, 2014 at 10:12 am

    It is essentially (1) and has been for months (possibly over a year). All the comment action is now on their facebook page.

  • 30. KarlS  |  May 30, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Is the (strange) double negative verbatim? I can't locate the Wilson piece…

  • 31. Jae  |  May 29, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    We got another one on the fence.

  • 32. Walter  |  May 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Christie does much the same thing. He opposed marriage equality but signed a bill outlawing reparative therapy. They "straddle the fence" to obscure their position on the issue and appeal to a broader base politically. We should see more of this behavior particularly from Republican politicians.(Basically, Obama did the same thing as he "evolved" on marriage equality. Obama supported it when he ran for the state senate in 1996. So he "evolved" backwards and forward.)

  • 33. Dr. Z  |  May 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I have been hoping that Oregon made its mark somehow in this victory season.

    Oregon was one of the first states (with California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania) to have local officials issuing marriage licenses, prior to Massachusetts. It was that first outpouring of feeling optimistic, like the Berlin Wall had fallen. Later in the year, as the 2004 elections approached, Oregon was thought to be the one state where we might beat one of the mini-DOMAs. The national organizations and many people from the grassroots concentrated their money here, hoping we might be able to win somewhere. The LGBT community here had long experience in winning against antigay ballot measures; this was where Scott Lively first came onto the political scene. We fought it hard, but the national tide was too strong that year (the Oregonian hurt us too with their puff-cheeked outrage at the Multnomah County Commissioners.) We lost 57-43.

    Now we have our chance at karmic revenge. Our adversaries have picked very weak ground – an untimely motion, invisible injured parties, character assassination of the judge and the Oregon DA, lack of Article III standing, no case at all. We have an unbroken string of district court victories, support of the Oregon AG, and – best of all – we have the law on our side.

    I think we are on the cusp of a great victory.

  • 34. Bruno71  |  May 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I think that victory has already been achieved. It can only be futzed with in a technical way for so long before it's sealed.

  • 35. StraightDave  |  May 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    When you have Orrin-effing-Hatch calling it, you know it's over.

  • 36. Dr. Z  |  May 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Ah, not yet. Hold onto your tickets, this show is going to end with a BIG finale.

  • 37. StraightDave  |  May 30, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Yes, we do have to go through all the steps.
    and yes, there will be a very big bang at the end.
    and yes, there are probably a couple unpleasant bumps and delays along the way.

    But this will NOT be the 18-0 New England Patriots losing the Super Bowl.

  • 38. Dr. Z  |  May 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Depends on your frame of reference. Relative to where we are now, and understanding the winning streak we have built up, then you're right it's all over bar the shouting.

    But if you think back to:
    * 10 years ago when we were hanging on by a fingernail in Massachusetts,
    * 18 years ago when DOMA was passed,
    * 30 years ago when Rock Hudson died of AIDS,
    * 36 years ago when Harvey Milk was assassinated,
    * 45 years ago when the Stonewall riots occurred,

    then yes, the upcoming SCOTUS ruling is going to be a very big deal, as impossible a dream for us to concieve of (from where we started) as Robert Goddard's dream than humans might someday walk on the moon.

  • 39. GregG  |  May 30, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Actually, I think the "hanging on by a fingernail" in MA didn't end until June 14, 2007 when the second legislature failed to pass the constitutional amendment after the earlier legislature had passed it.

  • 40. SeattleRobin  |  May 30, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I thought this article concerning parenting by gay dads was interesting in light of the "diversity in parenting" arguments made in these marriage cases.

  • 41. SPQRobin  |  May 30, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Now that Houston has a non-discrimination ordinance, Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city not covered by any LGBT non-discrimination ordinance or law. It's the 13th largest city with about 843,000 inhabitants.

    Its city council rejected an ordinance in 2012 by a 10-9 vote.

    Then there are several cities (Charlotte, NC; Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; …) that only protect from discrimination in public employment.

  • 42. BenG  |  May 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Plus there's the even broader issue of non-discrimination in public accommodations.

    This recent situatuon in Texas highlights the issue.

    Marriage equality is just one part of the larger fight for full LGBT equality.

  • 43. Kyle  |  May 30, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Nashville actually tried to expand their nondiscrimination ordinance to employees of city contractors as well, but the state passed a law to overrule them.

  • 44. Bruno71  |  May 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Is that law being challenged?

  • 45. Kyle  |  May 30, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    As far as I know, it's not.

  • 46. Stefan  |  May 31, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Yes it is, and the state supreme court just heard oral arguments.

  • 47. Stefan  |  May 31, 2014 at 2:32 am

    I fully expect renewed interest in passing the ordinance in Jacksonville now that Houston passed theirs.

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