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Equality news round-up: ACLU files marriage equality case in Alabama, and more

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Alabama state seal

– The ACLU has filed a challenge to Alabama’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. The complaint in Aaron-Brush v. Bentley is here. The ACLU’s press release is here.

– Yesterday we reported that the federal judge who struck down Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban denied the request for an emergency stay, and filed a written order in the case. The state had filed a request for a stay in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which took no action before the district court issued her order. The appeals court has now ordered the parties to file briefs discussing whether they have jurisdiction over the appeal. (There’s no injunction barring enforcement of Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban, and the judge is expected to issue one on or after the 16th, meaning that there may not be a final order to appeal at this stage.)

– Meanwhile, in the district court, the plaintiffs submitted their proposed injunction.

– In the Tenth Circuit, the plaintiffs in Evans v. Utah, the case involving Utah’s refusal to recognized legally-performed same-sex marriages after the district court’s ruling, have filed their opposition to a stay, and the state has replied.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings


  • 1. Andrew  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I keep reading news stories that the judge in Wisconsin hasn't yet allowed counties to issue licenses. This concept is often confusing in to non attorney journalists. The fact is that counties have always been allowed to issue licenses under federal law. Its just that the state has been preventing them from doing so because of tradition for generations and most recently, since 2006, under a false assumption the state constitutional ban is legitimate. The only issue before the judge is whether the court must order county clerks to do what they always have legally been able to do and second whether to order the defendants and their subjects from interfering in the counties' right to issue licenses. Therefore, the remaining hold out counties that are not now issuing licenses are either getting bad legal advice that they need permission or they are playing politics, or both. Even prior to Windsor, the law has been the same. Its just that finally the courts opened their eyes and discovered the truth that has always been there. Judge Crabb described that evident truth so well. Now more and more Americans are seeing their own past mistakes. It all began with the ever so brave pioneers decades ago who had the courage to just come out of the closet and say I am gay. The shedding of light on reality of who we are as a nation has been a long process but the results are beginning to shine.

  • 2. ebohlman  |  June 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Therefore, the remaining hold out counties that are not now issuing licenses are either getting bad legal advice that they need permission or they are playing politics, or both.

    Actually many of them have a legitimate concern that until an order is issued, the state Department of Vital Records (I think that's the name) might not actually record the licenses the clerks issue, meaning that the clerks can't clearly represent to the couples that the licenses will be valid.

  • 3. FredDorner  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

    As the Dane County clerk noted, the marriage is actually registered with the county. The copy filed with the state's vital records office is redundant.

  • 4. StraightDave  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Then why is VR not bothering to put the papers in the right file if that has no legal effect? Seems like a hollow political gesture just to score a cheap point (with somebody). By the way, where's the great hue and cry from the public? Been very quiet up there, at least what's visible to the rest of the country. If the AG is seeing one giant collective yawn, he might want to think twice about "defending the people's rights".

  • 5. StraightDave  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I just love Alabama's Not-So-Great Seal. "You are here."
    Is there absolutely nothing about the state's character or history worth mentioning?

  • 6. DrHeimlich  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:30 am

    "We have rivers!"

  • 7. StraightDave  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

    OK, it's a blob of land with some gashes in it.

    Scottie! Help us out here, seriously. What do you think should have been put on it? What is there that's noteworthy about AL that they should flaunt and be proud of? Are you a native?

  • 8. Roulette00  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I can think of a number of potential ideas but none is flattering.

  • 9. Rose  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:42 am

    It's got most of the Rainbow colors in the flag…….maybe if we brighten them up a bit it will give it something……lol!!!

  • 10. montezuma58  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    They could put some space junk on it. There was some German dude that camped out in the north part of the state and built some moon rockets and stuff.

  • 11. Dr. Z  |  June 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    "Once zey go up, who cares vere zey come down?
    Zat's not my department!" said Werner von Braun.

  • 12. SteveW  |  June 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    You, too, can be a big hero
    Once you learn to count backwards to zero
    "In German, oder English, I know how to count down…
    Und I'm learning Chinese" says Werner von Braun.

    Love Tom Lehrer 🙂

  • 13. RobW303  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    A huge belly roll, a burning cross and an exam paper marked "D".

  • 14. BillinNO  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Guys- South-bashing is as ugly and unwelcome as any other kind of hate. And catty, throw-away comments sweepingly denigrating the south and southerners come off as awfully petty- and a very poor return to those of us in the south who have spent the better part of our lives in the struggle for civil rights. They certainly have no place on a forum with a purpose such as this one. When you broadly slander southerners as racists, rednecks, illiterates- whatever- you mortally offend us. I've met racists and rednecks and illiterates in Rhode Island, In California, in New York- and plenty of 'em. The south holds no monopoly on racism or religious hysteria, or backwardness, or insobriety- or gun violence, apparently- nor from what I read here on intolerance. There's plenty of work for some non-southerners to do to improve their own communities (and their own minds) before they go making pointless, ugly, unhelpful generalized comments about southerners. And I'm going to start flagging these comments as the deeply offensive and mean-spirited insults they are. Thank you.

    Bill Naquin
    Mr Southern Renegade (Mobile, Alabama) 2012
    Mr. Louisiana Leather 2013
    Board Member, Forum for Equality of Louisiana
    Member: Interfaith, Interracial Committee on Social Justice and the LGBT Community, New Orleans

  • 15. Corey from Maryland  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    While I certainly agree that it is in exceptionally poor taste to use this forum -which is devoted to the cause of marriage equality- for any other purpose, as someone who was born and raided in Louisiana, I take serious umbrage with the implication that the general (emphasis, general) racial climate (or acceptance of gays) in Louisiana is on par with California, New York or Rhode Island. No, it isn't. This is a debate for another forum but I felt uncomfortable with the lack of context and reality.

  • 16. Corey from Maryland  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:44 am


  • 17. BillinNO  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Corey, my suggestion would be that if you want to call out individuals or organized groups for their racism, homophobia, ignorance or intolerance generally then the thing to do is single them out by name. Generalizing southerners is no more acceptable than generalizing Blacks or Muslims or Gays. Recall the unfortunate remark the president made about- who was it- rural people? That "they cling to guns and religion". Really. Not. Helpful. It was stereotyping. It didn't score any points and it sure didn't make any friends. When one makes Alabama a byword for ignorance he is needlessly insulting and alienating all the nice people that live there. It also puts off the would-be allies that we really need and are trying to recruit. So rather than being ironic and spiteful, let's congratulate the hard working men and women who are leading the charge in Alabama and offer them all the help and encouragement they need to continue to improve conditions in their state. How about it?

  • 18. MichaelGrabow  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Unless they've been removed from your flagging them or you are referring to comments from a different post, a quick scan of all of these leaves me searching for something hateful.

    Essentially everything that was said was a joke about how bland the state seal is.

  • 19. SeattleRobin  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    The post that he originally directly replied to suggested that the state seal should depict three of the common negative stereotypes of Southerners.

    I can certainly understand why Southerners who read here would find that insulting or offensive. Painting entire groups of people with a broad brush because of the bad behavior or ongoing problems of some should be something we consider unacceptable.

  • 20. MichaelGrabow  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    It's either been removed, or I am having a really difficult day because I don't see what you're talking about.

  • 21. SeattleRobin  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    It's just a one line post so you're probably just missing it. In response to the question is there anything about the character or history of Alabama worth mentioning: "A huge belly roll, a burning cross and an exam paper marked "D"."

  • 22. debater7474  |  June 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Considering Alabama's history, best not mention any of it.

  • 23. Bruno71  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I'm kind of surprised they didn't put a football on it.

  • 24. Michael Grabow  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

    "Keep in mind, we are right next to four other states!"

  • 25. SoCal_Dave  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

    LOL. What fascinates me is that GA is green, TN is blue, but MS and FL are both red. Did they run out of colors?
    Also how many other state seals have other states named in them.

  • 26. Larry  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

    They wanted to show an example of the 4 color theorem for maps?

  • 27. Roulette00  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

    The limited colors may have been chosen to make printing easier; or they may have been in adherence to rules of heraldry, which designates certain colors to various meanings. The later coats of arms (eg, Alaska) have more complex color schemes, I notice.

  • 28. StraightDave  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    And what if one of those other neighboring states changed its name, split in half, or changed its boundaries. AL would be pissed! These things happen.

  • 29. Bruno71  |  June 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Especially since North Florida would give Alabama a run for its money in redneckness.

  • 30. montezuma58  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Actually the border between Alabama and Tennessee is in the wrong place. As well as the Georgia Tennessee border. The surveyor marked the wrong spot where the three states meet. It was supposed to be a bit further to the north so part of the Tennessee River would be in Georgia. Georgia has whined about this every decade or so since. They've actually been making a lot more noise recently due to Atlanta not being able to suck out enough water from the Chattahoochee River (they're force to share that water with AL and FL). Interestingly, the Chattahoochee River isn't labeled on the map.

    So next time you look at the seal just think if not for a goof up generations ago, there would be more bama than there is today.

  • 31. StraightDave  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Curiosity got the better of me.
    The AL state seal was designed by the governor while it was still a territory in 1817. It probably was just a blob of land with some gashes back then.
    However, from 1868-1939 an new seal was used with an eagle carrying a banner reading "Here we rest".

    What does that mean? They're the Cemetery State? Permanent siesta?
    Eventually, the original seal was restored, so maybe it's considered an improvement.


  • 32. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Well, it wasn't an 'original state', and wasn't even one of the first non-original states (Kentucky, Tennessee and Vermont (for example) beat it by decades).

    It WAS one of the original states in the CSA, and several battles of the US Civil War were fought inside the state borders, but those are not really things to write home about.

    All in all, is there anything about Alabama worth mentioning?

  • 33. Keith  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Yes, those 'bama country boys know how to have a gay ole time.

  • 34. Michael  |  June 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    There are some handsome men there. Just saying.

  • 35. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I remembering driving through Alabama many times and always felt a little uncomfortable. At their public rest areas, they had signs that read "Welcome to Alabama. We protect our rights." I found that vaguely threatening, since I knew that the "rights" they were referring to then was their right to discriminate against black people (to say nothing of gays). I don't know if that is still the case. And I do sympathize with the caution of BillinNO about stereotyping people who live there, but the quality of their public officials, like those in Louisiana and Mississippi as well as Texas and Oklahoma, is not reassuring. We do, however, need to honor those in the red states who fight for equal rights, often at great danger to themselves.

  • 36. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    As with everywhere else, we're seeing more and more support for our rights in the south. At least 4 Mississippi cities have passed declarations that respect equality (they unfortunately can't flout Mississippi law and pass non-discrimination ordinances). There are thriving communities in big cities like New Orleans, Austin, and Houston. I'm sure things are even getting better in Alabama. Let's hope the backlash we've seen with Mississippi's "religious freedom" law doesn't snowball.

  • 37. KarlS  |  June 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Well, it does have a town with an 'interesting' name, Muscle Shoals…which is somewhat humorous since they couldn't figure out how to spell "mussel". (Yes, I have been there)

  • 38. Michael Grabow  |  June 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm


  • 39. Bruno71  |  June 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    She got that inverted.

  • 40. Michael Grabow  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Pretty ridiculous mistake to make.

  • 41. ebohlman  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Actually an easy mistake if you're in a hurry: you know what you intend to write but things get crossed between the brain and fingers. You'll see that a lot in a medium that emphasizes immediacy and lacks proofreaders. She probably looked at the text of her tweet and saw what she intended to write rather than what she actually did (lord knows anyone who's debugged software has been through that more times than they can remember).

  • 42. Michael Grabow  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    What does she have five, ten million followers? She's been corrected and it should be deleted. Also, there was no reason for a rush, it was just posted today.

    Dozens of people who apparently only get their news from celebrities twitter/facebook accounts are reposting it, it's just frustrating.

  • 43. Michael Grabow  |  June 10, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I also realized it wasn't just simply transposing numbers, they wrote "the tides have turned" (and then repeated 20togo) seemingly referring to ME now being in the majority of states.

    This has already been retweeted/liked/etc hundreds of thousands of times.

  • 44. Pat  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:43 am

    At first I thought that maybe she might also be counting states which had a stayed ruling for marriage equality. But there are only 7 such states, not 10.
    So yeah, it seems she just flipped the numbers. Oops.

  • 45. Ragavendran  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Wisconsin marriage licenses issued by counties are being held up at the Office of VItal Records pending legal guidance from the AG:

  • 46. Richard Weatherwax  |  June 10, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    That means appeals to the state courts, and then more appeals and stays to follow that.

  • 47. StraightDave  |  June 11, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Are the marriages valid at the time they are executed and the form signed, or when the form is turned into the local clerk, or when the state Office of VR decides to remove their hands covering their eyes and look at it.

  • 48. Dann  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Wisconsin is currently electing to hold rather than process same-sex couples’ marriage licenses, due to conflicting statements on the legality of marriage equality in the state. A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, Jennifer Miller, told the Journal Times that they are waiting on legal guidance from Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen… Dane County Register of Deeds Kristi Chlebowski pointed out that legally speaking, a couple is considered to be married after they have held a ceremony, their marriage license is completed by their wedding officiant, and it is signed by two witnesses, whether or not their state’s office files a record of the license.

    I think it's safe to say the marriage are valid!

  • 49. Margo Schulter  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Bill, please let me join you in rejecting all regional prejudices, and in celebrating the movement for marriage equality in Alabama. Actually my first reaction to seeing the Alabama great seal was to think of the Creek Nation. A bit of quick Googling has shown me that the exact meaning of the name Alabama is a topic for some questioning, but that it may be derived from Chahta (or Choctaw), and that “Here we rest” is one possible interpretation.

    It’s an incredible history of struggle for human equality, and, as you say, against “intolerance” of all kinds.

  • 50. Michael Grabow  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I wish we at least knew the date on which the 10th circuit was going to rule.

  • 51. JimT  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Wishful thinking on my part, the 26th or 27 of June would be awesome since that weekend coincides with the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

  • 52. JimT  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Assuming the vote will be in our favor of course!

  • 53. SPQRobin  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

    California SB-1306, which would make California statutory law on marriage gender-neutral, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee 7-1. It now goes to the Assembly floor for a final vote.

  • 54. brandall  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Additional, new lawsuit filed today in Michigan to specifically allow recognition of out of state SSM. Case differs from ME lawsuit currently on appeal for in state marriages.

  • 55. Ragavendran  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Not sure if this has been posted, but the simultaneous memos have been filed regarding jurisdiction at the Seventh Circuit:

  • 56. StraightDave  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks, first time I've seen it.
    Right off the bat, WI defendants complain about …
    "the laws are being applied in an uneven, haphazard manner. Some counties are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while others are not. This uncertainty, confusion, and uneven application of state laws is precisely what State Defendants sought to avoid …"

    Why is that the court's problem? It just means the state doesn't have their shit together. They could solve it in an instant by packing their bags and running away from this snake pit of a case. They surely must have included that option in one of their conversations by now, you'd think.

  • 57. eizverson22  |  June 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Being actively concerned with the rights and welfare of gay or homosexual people. <img src=>

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