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Marriages on Hold in Wisconsin


By Matt Baume

Starting this week, Marriage News Watch is getting out of the office and traveling around the country. We’ll be visiting various states to see what’s happening with marriage equality. This week, we’re in Nevada, and we also have news from Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina and more.

So what’s happening with marriage in Nevada? A judge ruled against equality back in 2012. That was a setback, but a lot has changed since then. A separate case established a higher standard of review in cases involving LGBT discrimination, so there’s a good chance that ruling could be overturned on appeal.

The situation in Wisconsin is still changing by the day. As of Monday, some clerks are issuing licenses and others aren’t. We should get clarification in the next few days on whether those licenses can continue. Meanwhile, the state is pressing ahead with its appeal.

There’s a new lawsuit in Michigan. Two men are suing the state for recognition after they married in New York. One of the men has brain cancer, so they urgently need recognition for their relationship.

There’s also a new lawsuit in Alabama. This is the third suit in that state. And a second lawsuit was just filed in North Dakota.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, the state has filed a response to a marriage lawsuit there. The United Church of Christ sued the state to overturn the marriage ban. Now the state has requested a halt in the proceedings, pending a ruling from the Fourth Circuit in AFER’s Virginia case. A West Virginia case has been similarly halted while we await that Virginia decision, which could come any day.

A new study from the Williams Institute shows that marriage equality would mean $62 million for the economy of Arizona. And in Indiana, organizers have launched a new public outreach campaign to promote the freedom to marry called Hoosiers United for Marriage.


  • 1. Margo Schulter  |  June 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Are there reports of county clerks in Wisconsin issuing marriage licenses after Judge Crabb’s stay? That would be important news. The stories I’ve found on Google are about refunds for couples who applied during the one-week window but didn’t have the waiting period waived, and about a request for some Wisconsin officer holders to Attorney General Eric Holder to grant federal recognition to marriages which took place during the window.

    I’d be really interested to read stories about new licenses on Monday or later. This is what Judge Crabb was evidently trying to avoid by her attempt to place a stay on her declaratory judgment as as well the injunction itself. Are any clerks who may be issuing licenses arguing that the declaratory judgment cannot be validly stayed, and remains definitive?

  • 2. KarlS  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Just in: Pennsylvania clerk can not appeal decision:

  • 3. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Meanwhile, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg will have marriage equality as of January 1, 2015.

  • 4. KarlS  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

    The Mouse that Roared!!!!! hee hee

  • 5. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Technically, the country portrayed in that scenario was a fictitious, small, European country (Duchy of Grand Fenwick, supposedly located in the Alps between Switzerland and France), but many people thought of it as Lichtenstein (at the western tip of Austria, and in contact with Switzerland, but not France); others as Luxembourg (in contact with France, but not Switzerland); and others thought it a different country (San Marino [surrounded by Italy], Andorra [touches Spain and France, but not Switzerland], etc.).

    Interestingly, almost all, if not all, of the 'suspect' countries have no contact with any sea or ocean, thus bringing into question as to how the country had a navy to transport the 24 troops of it's army to NYC.

    All in all, though, Luxembourg is a very small country, and has thrown a punch well above it's 'weight class'.

  • 6. ebohlman  |  June 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Luxembourg has cultural and economic affinities with Belgium and the Netherlands (hence the three are sometimes called "Benelux"); it's truly playing catch-up here since the other two were the first two countries in the world with ME.

  • 7. JayJonson  |  June 20, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Luxembourg also has the distinction of having an openly gay Prime Minister and an openly gay Deputy Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is in a "legal partnership" with his partner, who lives with him in the PM's official residence. I wonder if "legal partnerships" will automatically be converted into marriages. The new marriage law also provides adoption rights for same-sex couples. Read more about it here.

  • 8. KarlS  |  June 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I know all that stuff, Mike…I still think my comment was funny. Pretty sure it wasn't mean. The story/book/novel is still a classic. 🙂

  • 9. Nyx  |  June 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    LOL, your comment was not mean nor was Mike's. But… it did get us to ebohlman's point!

  • 10. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

    No, your comment was not mean, just possibly inaccurate.

    What I was trying to post was verifiable facts. If facts are not important … . After all, I noted that SOME people were/are of the opinion that the 'Duchy of Fenwick' was Luxembourg.

    And the cultural affinities Luxembourg has are with France, South Belgium (Walloons, who speak French) and Germany. The Dutch-speaking Belgians are mostly in the North of the country. The unity of Belgium is at risk because of the language differences, which differentiate cultural differences.

    Luxembourg has almost no 'affinity' with the people in the Netherlands. In fact, the official languages of Luxembourg do NOT include Dutch (those official languages are Luxembourgish, French and Germany).

    Another name that BeNeLux formerly was known as (some people still know them as) were 'The Low Countries' (in part, an acknowledgement that there are/were separate countries so described).

  • 11. davepCA  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Thanks, Bob & Karl! I'm very glad to hear about both of these developments!

  • 12. Terence  |  June 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    It's taken them long enough (promised some years ago), but welcome all the same.

  • 13. Japrisot  |  June 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    For my fellow francophones!

    The vote was 56-4. Nice!

  • 14. Randolph_Finder  |  June 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

    From what I've read they are *really* dotting the i's and crossing the t's. The new government (with the Gay PM & Deputy PM) came in last December and it was announced that they were going to write the bill during the spring and look to pass it during the Summer. (So we are still a few days ahead of schedule).

    It really had a "It will happen, so let's get it right" vibe to it.

    Also, this wasn't even a "Gay Marriage" Bill. This was more of a "The last time we went through and seriously looked at the Marriage law as 1804(!), let's go a review of everything".

    Also, it needs to be approved by the "Council of State", but if that group had had any objections, then it would have been dealt with behind the scenes. The changes go into effect 6 months after the law is published, which is the reason for the wait.

    In short this is being viewed as a normal law rather than a special one…

  • 15. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Here is Judge Jones' opinion:

  • 16. davepCA  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:37 am


  • 17. JayJonson  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:39 am

    A very nice slapdown.

  • 18. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

    It was great fun to read.

  • 19. Bruno71  |  June 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Indeed. He's not abiding by this foolishness. So what's her move now?

  • 20. KarlS  |  June 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Do her job or quit seem to be the only options…shrug.

  • 21. Bruno71  |  June 18, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I think she's vowing an appeal of this denial.

  • 22. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I wish her the best of luck. It ain't gonna happen.

  • 23. Bruno71  |  June 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Here's her notice of appeal:

  • 24. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I don't know what sort of argument should could make in an appeal that could possibly give her Article III standing but whatever. Like I said above, good luck with that one.

  • 25. Zack12  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    She has nothing but she'll be going foward anyway.

  • 26. jjcpelayojr  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I wonder where she's getting her funds from to continue this litigation? Doesn't she have a higher state official to answer to that can tell her to cease and desist?

    (formerly jjames79)

  • 27. Japrisot  |  June 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I visited her Facebook page a while back and a looottttt of her constituents had the very same question and were quite vocal about it. The response given was that the firm was pursuing the matter pro bono, but that still doesn't account for administrative time, court fees, etc.

  • 28. scream4ever  |  June 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    The ruling will be final tomorrow/Friday, so she doesn't even seem to have enough time to do this.

  • 29. montezuma58  |  June 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    If it's not officially within the scope of her position to pursue the case in court i think the legal representation could be considered a gift. I'm not sure about PA but generally using a government position to get anything of value from outside parties is a violation of ethics rules.

  • 30. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    To me, it looks like Santai-Gaffney is arguing that since she doesn't like it, she has standing. Sort of like someone who doesn't like inter-racial marriage arguing that they have standing to fight inter-racial marriage, just because, even though SCOTUS has ruled (in the Loving case) that laws banning inter-racial marriage are unConstitutional.

  • 31. KarlS  |  June 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    It violates her Constitutional Right to never be offended. It must be in there somewhere…

  • 32. brandall  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    So that attempt is now stopped, but here's the new one:


    Perhaps "too politically charged" is the new phrase for a religious exemption? I am just guessing here

  • 33. Steve  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Certainly stupid and somewhat insulting, but I don't think judges are actually required to perform weddings. It's more of a bonus. So not performing any weddings is the right course if they find gay couples too icky.

  • 34. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    If I'm reading this correctly, these are judges who can, if they wish, perform weddings as officers of the court but are not required to do so, and it appears they are not performing weddings at all. This is different from county clerks refusing to issue licenses to certain couples. That would be a breach of their oath of office.

    The other way of putting it is: "See, we really HAVE ruined marriage." (snark)

  • 35. brandall  |  June 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I agree they are not required to perform weddings. But, I am assuming they are eventually up for reelection?

  • 36. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Not necessarily.

    In some states, judges are on the ballot in retention elections. In other states, state judges are put in the job for life (barring a judge acting in 'bad behavior' [a concept that has not been adequately defined according to many] ).

    I'm not sure how the state judges in Pennsylvania are retained, or if they don't need to face any future elections.

  • 37. MichaelGrabow  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I don't see where this has been mentioned yet.

  • 38. MichaelGrabow  |  June 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I'm not sure if either of these positive steps have been posted either.

  • 39. Fledge01  |  June 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    South Dakota is raising the "Baker" defense. That's all the defendants have. In the face of all the other judges who have ruled on this, the judge in this case will have to at least allow it to go to trial. The question exists of: "Did Windsor over-rule Baker". Filing this motion to dismiss is a no starter and just something any attorney hired to represent the defendants would have to file as a basic procedural step even if they think it probably won't work. It is not a legally baseless motion, just losing motion.

  • 40. KarlS  |  June 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Jackley's brief looks like something cobbled together by a precocious home-schooled fundamentalist 15 year old with a new Thesaurus and a copy of "Litigation for Dummies"

  • 41. sfbob  |  June 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It really is absurd to assert that Baker continues to have any relevance at all anymore. When 40% of citizens live in states, some portion of whose legal marriages cease to exist when those residents cross state lines, there is for damned sure precisely the federal issue that was lacking in 1972.

  • 42. Bruno71  |  June 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Considering it was dismissed for lacking a federal question, and is now moot since its state of origin has marriage equality now…

  • 43. Retired_Lawyer  |  June 19, 2014 at 4:38 am

    From now on, any counsel citing Baker v. Nelson should be forced to read what, I think, is the single most penetrating, well-researched analysis of that case, namely the segment of Judge Barbara Crabbe's Opinion and Order, designated Part IA, starting on page 7 of the slip opinion, in Virginia Wolf, et al. v Scott Walker, et al., W.D. Wisc., 14-cv-64-bbc, June 6, 2014. Judge Crabbe's discussion of Baker v. Nelson, and especially an earlier version of 28 U.S.C. sec. 1257, which deals with Supreme Court jurisdiction, is written clearly enough to be understood by non-lawyers. If anyone here comes across Baker v. Nelson again, please do yourself a favor and read this short explanation from Judge Crabbe at once.

  • 44. SeattleRobin  |  June 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Agreed! That section fascinated me, and made me wonder why no plaintiff's lawyers have brought up that context in their briefs. (It also made me wonder how many bad precedents are floating around out there due to a need for speedy disposition of too many cases.)

  • 45. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Question: Does Baker v. Nelson still control?

    Incorrect Answer #1 (Judge Shelby in Kitchen v. Herbert):
    "But the Supreme Court has stated that a summary dismissal is not binding 'when doctrinal developments indicate otherwise.'"

    Incorrect Answer #2 (Judge Dale in Latta v. Otter):
    "Defendants make forceful arguments about the binding nature of summary dismissals, but they overlook the doctrinal developments exception stated in Hicks."

    Incorrect Answer #3 (Judge Jones in Whitewood v. Wolf):
    "[W]e … no longer consider Baker v. Nelson controlling due to the significant doctrinal developments in the four decades that have elapsed since it was announced by the Supreme Court."

    Incorrect Answer #4 (Judge Crabb in Wolf v. Walker):
    "[A] summary dismissal is no longer controlling 'when doctrinal developments indicate' that the Court would take a different view now. Hicks"

    Correct Answer (Supreme Court in Hicks v. Miranda):
    "We were not obligated to grant the case plenary consideration, and we did not; but we were required to deal with its merits. We did so by concluding that the appeal should be dismissed because the constitutional challenge to the California statute was not a substantial one. The three-judge court was not free to disregard this pronouncement. As MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN once observed, "[v]otes to affirm summarily, and to dismiss for want of a substantial federal question, it hardly needs comment, are votes on the merits of a case. … The District Court should have followed the Second Circuit's advice … that 'unless and until the Supreme Court should instruct otherwise, inferior federal courts had best adhere to the view that if the Court has branded a question as unsubstantial, it remains so except when doctrinal developments indicate otherwise'; and … that the lower courts are bound by summary decisions by this Court '"until such time as the Court informs [them] that [they] are not."'

    "…[T]he constitutional issues which were presented in Miller II and which were declared to be insubstantial by this Court, could not be considered substantial and decided otherwise by the District Court.…" (bold emphasis mine, citations omitted)

    Dominoes uprighting themselves in 3…2…1….

  • 46. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 7:26 am

    And by the way, here is the original "doctrinal developments" discussion, which was a footnote in the 2nd Circuit case Port Authority Bondholders Protective Committee v. Port of New York Authority (citations omitted for ease of reading):

    "We recognize the possible force in an argument that in light of the heavy demands on the Supreme Court's time, … dismissal of an appeal on motion 'for want of a substantial federal question' should be considered as having less of a foreclosing effect than an adverse decision of the same or even a similar question after full argument. The Sunday law cases are notable examples of the Court's finding much substantiality– there 200 pages worth– in an issue characterized as unsubstantial in dismissing appeals only a few years before. However, unless and until the Supreme Court should instruct otherwise, inferior federal courts had best adhere to the view that if the Court has branded a question as unsubstantial, it remains so except when doctrinal developments indicate otherwise." (bold emphasis mine)

    As you see, this obliterates Judge Crabb's argument that lower courts can simply assume the Supreme Court was pressed for time and therefore decide a case differently just because they think the Supreme Court will now agree.

    (And given the two occurences of "otherwise", my guess is that the "doctrinal developments" language was meant to be dropped, but word processors in 1967 didn't have easy select-and-delete functions, and so the clause managed to slip through.)

    (EDIT: Actually I think I've parsed the two "otherwise"s: An inferior court should adopt a policy of being bound by summary decisions until doctrinal developments (i.e. future Supreme Court opinions addressing the same question) indicate the summary decisions should not be followed, and that policy itself should be followed until the Supreme Court indicates that a lower court should follow a different policy. But since the Court didn't change that policy (and in fact affirmed it), it's a distinction without a difference.)

  • 47. Ragavendran  |  June 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I'm actually beginning to get concerned for this person. I fear they might harm themselves when the Supreme Court eventually rules for marriage equality.

  • 48. EricKoszyk  |  June 22, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I've already reported him as a troll. We all should. This site has been actually useful since the changes were made. I'd hate for it to slid back into irrelevance because of the return of trolls.

  • 49. Corey_from_MD  |  June 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Hey Ragavenran and EricKoszyk — As the moderator previously posted, the best thing to do is to completely and totally ignore the troll. When you think about it, it really doesn't matter responding since it is an exercise in vain – like hitting your head against a brick wall or cutting off your nose in spite of your face, etc. This might be a disgruntled NOM staff member in disguise like Brian Brown himself. In quoting the new cliche from "Frozen", let it go, let It go…

  • 50. KarlS  |  June 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Well, we can certainly hope so…

  • 51. Steve  |  June 22, 2014 at 10:39 am

    And that would be a problem why exactly?

  • 52. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Considering that won't happen before 2100, if ever, you needn't worry.

  • 53. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 7:57 am

    And from Doe v. Hodgson:

    "Plaintiffs argue that such a disposition should not be controlling in this case. They point to the heavy Supreme Court caseload and the observations of Supreme Court scholars (including the recent report of a study group chaired by Professor Paul A. Freund) to the effect that summary disposition of cases on the appellate docket 'is not a satisfactory equivalent for the judgment on the merits it is supposed to be.' Plaintiffs thus contend that summary affirmance is entitled to no more–or little more–precedential weight than is the denial of a petition for a writ of certiorari. However, we have ruled to the contrary. We are aware that the Ninth Circuit has stated that a summary affirmance by the Supreme Court of a case within its 'obligatory appellate jurisdiction has very little precedential significance.' For now, however, we continue to believe that we are bound by the Supreme Court's summary affirmances 'until such time as the Court informs us that we are not.'." (bold emphasis mine, citations omitted)

    And as posted above, the Supreme Court in Hicks adopted this view instead of the 9th's.

    So yeah, Judge Crabb's exposition on the precedental force of summary dismissals can be tossed as the worthless trash it is.

  • 54. BenG1980  |  June 18, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    This situation is a bit different, though, because of the 2006 ruling in Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, which is arguably still binding precedent in the 8th Circuit. That is likely the reason most of the marriage equality cases filed in 8th Circuit states have been filed in state courts (Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska). Of course, Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning was based in large part on Baker v. Nelson, but it's an additional obstacle that will have to be overcome in the federal cases filed in North Dakota and South Dakota, and which has been absent in the prior recent uses of the "Baker Defense."

  • 55. sfbob  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Note however that the South Dakota case pertains to recognition of a marriage legally contracted out of state. In Citizens for Equal Protection vs Bruning, the suit was brought, not by couples attempting to obtain marriage licenses or to have an existing marriage recognized but by a coalition of LGBT rights organizations. Quite apart from the fact that Bruning was decided largely based on Baker it also isn't really pertinent since the couple suing in South Dakota are in fact legally married.

  • 56. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 7:00 am

    But they're not legally married in South Dakota. The fact that they were "married" according to the laws of Minnesota or the Federated States of Micronesia or the Isle of Man is irrelavant.

  • 57. sfbob  |  June 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Against my better judgement I will note that a heterosexual couple legally married in Minnesota would be considered legally married in South Dakota. As would a heterosexual couple married in the Federated States of Micronesia or on the Isle of Man. Or in virtually any other jurisdiction throughout the nation and the world. In general it is not even something such couples legally married in one place who move to another give a moment's thought to. Why should gay and lesbian couples have to worry about it.
    By the way, the state of Minnesota married the plaintiffs in accordance the laws of that state. They are every bit as legally married as any heterosexual couple would be, your scare quotes notwithstanding for one very simple reason: Minnesota says they are.

  • 58. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Well, as marriage by definition is the union of a male and female, two women can't be married to each other regardless of what any state says. Certainly, Minnesota can call them "married" under its own law (in the same way that they can legally declare a cat to be a "dog"), but South Dakota is free to ignore such absurdity, and does. So not only are the two women bachelorettes in fact. but (more importantly from a legal standpoint) they are also bachelorettes under the law of the state where they live and where the suit has been filed. That makes their case no different from Bruning.

  • 59. davepCA  |  June 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Better get yourself a new dictionary. More and more dictionaries are including reference to the fact that the definition of marriage also includes same sex couples. And really? Still relying on that idiotic definitional argument? You're still grasping at straws, and still missing them.

  • 60. GayMarriageBad  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:10 am

    And "more and more dictionaries" are including definitions for "LOL" and "selfie". Your point?

  • 61. davepCA  |  June 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    What is yours?

    First you cling to the logical fallacy of the 'definitional argument', and then you imply that definitions are not to be considered important.

    That's the problem with trying to build your 'argument' on empty rhetoric. It's like trying to keep track of multiple lies. It's easy to end up contradicting yourself.

    You have no argument.

  • 62. Waxr  |  June 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    You are forgetting that marriage is a legal and social structure, not a biological organism.

    You are unaware that marriage is a right, and according to the 14th amendment a states cannot deprive a person of the right without "due process of the law" and "equal protection." That means that a state can't just pass a law depriving a person of their rights, it has to be done through a court system, and the laws must be applied equally to everybody. Marriage bans fail on both counts.

  • 63. GayMarriageBad  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Marriage is indeed a right, and one that no state denies. But the right to marriage is the right to find a mate and start a family, not the right to have the government declare your "love" for someone of the same sex to be equal to that of the love between a man and a woman that forms the basis of the family and the continuation of the human race.

  • 64. Zack12  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:46 am

    So infertile couples and couples who don't want kids shouldn't be allowed to marry then?

  • 65. Waxr  |  June 23, 2014 at 7:06 am

    People marry for love.

  • 66. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    People marry for many reasons. No county clerk asks what those reasons are when issuing a license. That is, I think, part of the argument for our side but not for the opposition.

  • 67. KarlS  |  June 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I could imagine one of them asking if there was a guy with them wearing overalls and carrying a shotgun…


  • 68. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I suppose if the guy with the shotgun were actually standing there, that might provoke a question, or at least a questioning look. In theory, marriage being a contract and all, it is assumed that the parties entering into it are giving their consent freely. How this works out in the case of arranged marriages is a interesting question all by itself. Certainly such marriages would conform to the "traditional" definition of marriages enunciated above even if the groom were 85 and the bride were 18 (or 16 or even lower in states that provide for underage marriages with consent of the parents). At least one of the marriages among my great-grandparents was by arrangement.

    It never fails to amuse me that some people still believe the definition of marriage has never altered since whichever starting point they select, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    I have been to a number of weddings over the course of my life; all without exception have been religious ceremonies. So I don't know whether the old question that ends with "speak now or forever hold your peace" is part of a ceremony conducted at a county clerk's office. Even then however, the county clerk would not be the one raising the objection.

  • 69. KarlS  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Well, I was sort of joking, but the old 'shotgun wedding' wasn't a joke, they did actually happen (maybe still do)…I was just alluding to the fact that arranged marriages, with or without the firearms, never did seem to attract the same hateful scrutiny as SSMs do to some folks. My mom remarried several years after my dad died in a car crash in a purely secular setting…it was in a picnic shelter at a park and there were no preachers in sight, just family, friends and a municipal judge who was a friend of my stepdad's. The "speak now" tradition wasn't observed.

  • 70. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Oh I knew you were joking. Still there are ramifications to what marriage is (legally speaking) that make the notion of a shotgun wedding at least somewhat significant, whether an actual shotgun is present or it is there metaphorically speaking. How many couples still get married simply because the woman got pregnant and either the couple felt an obligation to marry or else one family or both exerted pressure? I'd guess the number is greater than zero. Of course the "responsible procreation" folks would have us believe that all those couples postpone consummation until after the ceremony when it is as much the wedding as the pregnancy that's "accidental."

  • 71. KarlS  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    One of my very closest friends from boyhood married his high-school girlfriend, had 3 children all of whom he loves dearly and stayed married for 17 years before he was able to come to terms with being gay. I found this out only when we got to be almost 50 years of age. But since then I've learned of 3 more friends who also "did the right thing" back in the 1960s because it was expected and really necessary to avoid censure, persecution and at times even PROsecution.

  • 72. Steve  |  June 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    That's a relatively new thing. If you told people in the 18th century and even the early 19th century that people should marry for love, many of them would consider you crazy. Marriage was considered far too important to leave it something as nebulous and volatile as love.

  • 73. Waxr  |  June 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    The idea is not that new. Love stories are as old as literature. Homer, Ovid, and Shakespeare made use of them. Even in the Bible you find the Book of Ruth and Song of Songs.

    But wealth and political power often dictated who a person could marry. Close reading of the Bible reveals that many of King David's wives were the result of political alliances with heads of neaboring states. Solomon was probably the same story.

    Ironically, only the poor could afford to marry for love, because they did not have money, land or political power to burden them.

  • 74. RnL2008  |  June 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

    In reality, the State defines the marital requirements, procreation has NEVER been a requirement in order to obtain a marriage license.

    As long as the individuals requesting a marriage license meets the State requirements, a marriage license MUST be issued…….as it has been proven time and again that the State has NO compelling reason to deny Gays and Lesbians the right to marry.

    Families are formed for many reasons….and it's NOT just because the man and woman can naturally procreate.

  • 75. Randolph_Finder  |  June 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Yes, but *ability* to procreate is in at least one state marriage law, Utah, but in a *negative* way.

    (2) First cousins may marry under the following circumstances:
    (a) both parties are 65 years of age or older; or
    (b) if both parties are 55 years of age or older, upon a finding by the district court, located in the district in which either party resides, that either party is unable to reproduce.

    (Arizona is similar, expect without the 55 years requirement)

  • 76. RnL2008  |  June 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

    It still DOESN'T say that a couple MUST procreate in order to obtain a marriage license…….nor can the State show how denying a Same-Sex couple the right to marry will somehow make an opposite-sex couple be more responsible regarding procreation.

  • 77. Randolph_Finder  |  June 23, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I fully agree with your statement. I just love the fact that Utah has as part of its marriage law a condition that a couple *not* be able to have children under certain cirumstances. Makes the procreation argument even more bizarre…

  • 78. RnL2008  |  June 23, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Okay……now, I get what you're saying…..that's really strange and then to try and use the argument against Gays and Lesbians……what some won't do to justify their hatred or bigotry…..ugh!!!

  • 79. JayJonson  |  June 23, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Yes, this is a key point. Some states not only do not require procreation, but absolutely prohibit it in some circumstances. So the argument that the prohibition of same-sex partners for marrying is because they cannot procreate is doubly hypocritical.

  • 80. davepCA  |  June 23, 2014 at 11:56 am

    "the right to marriage is the right to find a mate and start a family"

    Now look who is making up his own definitions of 'marriage'.
    SCOTUS has already proven your 'definition' to be wrong.

    LOL indeed.

  • 81. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I would say, offhand, that your reasoning is circular.

    Let's try this: Marriage is a civil institution that is defined by statute. If a marriage statute defines marriage as the union of two individuals then, by definition, two individuals who have a marriage certificate are married, regardless of their gender.

    Your claim notwithstanding, historically speaking the definition of marriage has changed throughout history. Until less than 100 years ago, in this country, a woman lost her legal identity when she married a man. That is no longer the case. There are nations in the world even today which define marriage as the union of a man and one or more women. Whether we like it or not, those obsolete definitions of marriage were valid at the time and the plural marriages which have been legally contracted are quite valid. If a Saudi Arabian sheik and all of his wives were to travel to the the US for business or pleasure, it is my understanding, that while US Customs and other legal authorities may find it distasteful they would nevertheless treat all of that sheik's wives as such.

  • 82. Randolph_Finder  |  June 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

    sfbob. From what I understand about Saudi Law, a man with multiple wives is married to each separately, in that there is no direct legal relationship between the wives. For example, I don't believe that one wife can direct medical care for another wife. Also, I don't believe if the man dies that there remains any legal tie between the wives.

  • 83. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Okay. Too late for me to edit my post. I will note however that, as far as I know, in the event that a Saudi businessman were to travel to the US with two or more of his wives, federal law would recognize each of the marriages for any relevant purposes during the time they were in the country.

  • 84. Randolph_Finder  |  June 23, 2014 at 10:38 am

    OK. Still would be fascinating to see if we could get any relevant case law out of *that*.

    I expect that eventually, the laws will end up in the following way. State Law will determine if a person is eligible to get married in a state. Any person who meets that eligibility may marry anyone else who meets that criteria.

  • 85. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    That's about right, though of course state laws regarding eligibility for marriage are nonetheless constrained by requirements of the US Constitution. Whatever the Tenth Amendment may say about "states' rights" they are limited when basic individual rights trump them. This was proven by Loving and by Windsor and I have every expectation that a further-reaching ruling is going to come about eventually.

  • 86. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    In 2004 (before ANY jurisdiction allowed ME), the GAO found 1,138 Federal benefits that couples could not access if they were married to a person of the same sex. And those benefits do not include state and local benefits. I wonder how many additional Federal benefits (let alone state and local) were denied to ME couples from January 1, 2004 until SCOTUS ruled on June 26, 2013?

    So for the AG to state that "the plaintiffs have not presented "any plausible claim" of having been discriminated against" is ludicrous, especially since the suit is in Federal court, not state court.

  • 87. RnL2008  |  June 19, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Thanks Mike…….we have been married since 2008, but it WASN'T until the Windsor ruling that we FINALLY got federal recognition along with the rights, benefits and privileges that go with that federal recognition.

    This allowed us to file married jointly on our 2011 taxes, which fixed a mess when my wife claimed her stepdaughter and step grandchild, which the IRS was NOT allowing because she wasn't related to them………..we were looking at over 4000 in penalties, but after getting federal recognition, we got a refund instead…it only took us 3 years and outside help!!!

    Even after the Windsor ruling……The Department of Veteran's Affairs STILL is taking it's sweet azz time in adding the spouses of Disabled Veteran's who are legally married to our disability claims. Supposedly the DOJ is in court trying to get the wording down to do this, but it has been almost a year and we still wait for this added benefit!!!

  • 88. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm


    I'm not sure, but this article from 'The Washington Blade' might help:

    For further assistance, have you discussed your particular situation with the staff of your Federal Congressperson (hopefully you are not 'represented' by a right-wing nut) or Senators?

  • 89. RnL2008  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the info Mike………I've discussed my particulars with my local Congressman or his Advocate……..which was NOT a very good Advocate………but I will take a look at the article and go forward!!!

  • 90. RnL2008  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Well, we do live in the State in which we were married….hopefully this news will help move things along!!!

  • 91. GayMarriageBad  |  June 22, 2014 at 8:09 am

    "In 2004 (before ANY jurisdiction allowed ME)"

    I'm not sure what you're getting at. Are you admitting that "ME" is not required by the Constitution, or are you saying that the marriage laws of all 50 states violated the very same Constitution that those states ratified?

  • 92. Sagesse  |  June 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Exclusive: Key NOM figures scheming behind the scenes ‘action plan’; called The Princeton Group [HRC/NOM Exposed]

    "[O]ver in Princeton, NJ, Maggie Gallagher (NOM cofounder and past president), Robert George (NOM cofounder and chairman emeritus), Brian Brown (current NOM president), John Eastman (NOM's current board chair), and a number of other individuals who were responsible for creating NOM back then (like founding board members Luis Tellez and Chuck Stetson, for instance) and are responsible for maintaining NOM now (like Sean Fieler, a key funder, and Diego Von Stauffenberg, NOM's current development director) were holding a secret, invite-only meeting focused on "developing and deploying an action plan to protect marriage and preserve religious liberties." It certainly seems like some sort of secret, shadowy version of NOM (Super NOM?) is going on behind the scenes."

    Read the invitation (linked in the article) and check out the guest list….

  • 93. eizverson22  |  June 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I hope there is more good news came from other states.<img src=>

  • 94. Sagesse  |  June 19, 2014 at 3:30 am

    If you want to watch NOM's March for Marriage, there's a live stream:

    "Thanks to a special partnership with The Washington Times, the official media sponsor of the 2014 March for Marriage, we will be live streaming the event on the world-wide web!

    "The entire rally, starting at 11:00 AM Eastern on Thursday, will be aired live on The Washington Times website and at <a href="” target=”_blank”> So if you can't join us in person, gather a few friends together, pray for marriage, and watch and listen to our incredible speakers as they encourage each of us to continue standing up without fear in the legal, political, and cultural spheres to preserve marriage and every child's right to both a mother and a father."

    Fun fact: the Washington Times is the only newspaper Justice and Mrs. Scalia read.

  • 95. KarlS  |  June 19, 2014 at 8:56 am

    It appears that someone forgot to issue the "BACKWARD MARCH" command…nothing is moving on that so-called "tune in live". Maybe nobody showed up.

  • 96. SoCal_Dave  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Try this link,Karl
    I've been popping in from time to time (with the sound off)
    Mostly the camera has been focused on the speakers.
    The few shots of the crowd are not far enough back to get a good picture, but from the shots we're getting, it looks like there must be tens of people there.

  • 97. KarlS  |  June 20, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Meant to say thanks yesterday but right about then got a call to fly down to Dallas and pick up some optical guys…then when I got back I had forgotten.

  • 98. SeattleRobin  |  June 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Here's a page with some good pictures. Looks to me like the estimate of 2-3 thousand is about right (allowing for people coming and going before and after photos taken).

  • 99. OctaA  |  June 19, 2014 at 4:01 am

    I don't know if anybody here is on twitter, but the hashtag NOM is using #march4marriage is being used today in support of marriage equality.

    If anyone does have twitter and would like to post their own message of support that would be awesome.

  • 100. sfbob  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Dozens and dozens of people showed up for the hatefest.

  • 101. peterplumber  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:30 am

    When you say Dozens and dozens of people, do you mean only 50 or so? Not the thousands NOM wanted?

  • 102. sfbob  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Yes, that's what I mean. 🙂

  • 103. Bruno71  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Estimate is 2000. Still a low number.

  • 104. KarlS  |  June 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

    All the pics I've managed to look at make me think there were under a thousand. But one thing for sure, I saw a lot of creepy looking people that I sure as hell would never let my kids around!

  • 105. BenG1980  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I was just out by the west front of the Capitol, and can confirm that there are a couple thousand people at most in attendance — nowhere near the hundreds of thousands who participated in the National Equality March on October 11, 2009.

  • 106. Steve  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Many of them were bussed there with the promise to sightsee the city, but have no idea why they are really there.

  • 107. EricKoszyk  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

    It appears that many of them were also latino and supporters of NY State Senator Ruben Diaz. I watched a lot of the live feed and many of the speakers were translated into Spanish, including former Senator Santorum. There was also a lot of Spanish language music played in between speakers.

  • 108. sfbob  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Essentially they were shanghai'ed.

  • 109. Bruno71  |  June 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I'm not convinced of that. If they're Diaz followers, they may very well know why they're there and be happy about it. But the free trip probably helped.

  • 110. sfbob  |  June 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Is it wise to assume that all of Diaz's followers follow him because he opposes marriage equality. He is, after all, the head of a church as well as a politician and not everyone who belongs to that church or who supports him politically may view opposition to marriage equality to be as important as Diaz himself does.

  • 111. scream4ever  |  June 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    It looks to be even less then their rally in March of last year, which most news sources estimated to be at only 2,000-3,000.

  • 112. dingomanusa  |  June 19, 2014 at 11:21 am

    From all the news reports thus far, there were not very many people at that rally. And the tweets about it are funny: “I've seen more people in a walmart on a Sunday than the #March4Marriage has on the Mall right now.”

  • 113. davepCA  |  June 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

    The comments below the live feed were the usual totally illogical bumper sticker rhetoric about 'protect marriage!' and 'kids need a mom and a dad!'. There were some commenters on our side who posted simple questions and challenges like 'explain how denying a marriage license to a same sex couple protects the marriages of other couples' and 'explain how denying civil marriage to same sex couples affects whether a child is raised by a mom and a dad'. The answers, as always, were basically 'um, because the Bible!' and made no more sense than the original rhetoric.

  • 114. DaveM_OH  |  June 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I posted this in the other thread first, but there's a decision point coming today for the Presbyterian Church (USA) on extending marriage rites to same-sex couples. The committee considering the measure approved it 51-18.
    A vote is expected today in plenary session between 1:30 and 4:30 EDT.
    This would add the PCUSA to the UCC, MCC, Episcopal, and Quaker denominations as Christian churches supporting equal marriage.
    Follow here:

  • 115. DaveM_OH  |  June 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm


    Replying to myself:
    The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved an Authoritative Interpretation of its Book of Discipline to authorize all ministers of the Church to perform any marriage legal in the jurisdiction in which it is performed.


  • 116. JayJonson  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Doesn't it have to be approved by its congregations? I remember it took a couple of tries before a majority of its congregations passed the resolution that allowed partnered openly gay clergy.

  • 117. scream4ever  |  June 19, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    To write it into the constitution yes, but the other one passed allowing pastors to officiate weddings takes effect immediately.

  • 118. SoCal_Dave  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for this news, DaveM! This is huge.

  • 119. SeattleRobin  |  June 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I'm not a follower of any religion now, but I grew up in the Presbyterian church so this makes me happy. My mom will be happy too. A couple years after I came out she became an advocate for full gay acceptance in the church.

  • 120. Corey_from_MD  |  June 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Today is suppose to be NOM's big march on Washington and a huge thunderstorm is coming through this afternoon shortly. Nature is the best response to NOM's infamous ad..

  • 121. Bruno71  |  June 19, 2014 at 8:58 am

    There's a gathering storm, and hopefully lightning is about to hit Brian Brown.

  • 122. peterplumber  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Just like Thomas Peters got smitten for his hate against gay people?

  • 123. EricKoszyk  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I've been following NOM's rally on twitter. Here are a few good sources from people who are there:

  • 124. EricKoszyk  |  June 19, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Hey look, there was a Vatican flag on NOM's podium today:

    Good to know!

  • 125. Retired_Lawyer  |  June 20, 2014 at 7:13 am

    They sported the Vatican flag, because one of the people attending was Archbishop Carlos Vigano, the Apostolic Nuncio (which is what the Vatican calls its ambassador). He is a holdover, having been appointed by B16 rather than by Pope Francis.

  • 126. Roulette00  |  June 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

    On an unrelated note, has there been any whiff of movement on the SmithKline en banc proceeding? I can't locate any recent news.

  • 127. scream4ever  |  June 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    The delay likely means they refused to rehear it and a decent is being written as we speak.

  • 128. KarlS  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Does a motion for an en banc necessitate a dissent if it's denied? (I'm guessing that's what you meant)…

  • 129. BenG1980  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    No. Assuming the motion is denied, an optional dissent could be written in support of a rehearing.

  • 130. KarlS  |  June 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    but it would be only for the record, without any force of law, right? That's how I would imagine it…

  • 131. BenG1980  |  June 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Correct. Just like Justice Scalia's dissent in Windsor, but that seems to have taken on a life of its own. 🙂

  • 132. Japrisot  |  June 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Nope. There's no necessity for one. Of course one can be written if judges want to.

  • 133. EricKoszyk  |  June 20, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Obama Administration to extend Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to same sex married couples, regardless of which state they live in.

  • 134. MichaelGrabow  |  June 20, 2014 at 7:03 am

    10th circuit?
    *tap* *tap*
    Hello? Is this thing on?

  • 135. LK2013  |  June 20, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I seem to recall someone saying the 10th Circuit moves "fast," on the order of 90 days. So that would put us in mid-July, I guess.

  • 136. haydenarwen  |  June 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

    My Hunch is that as we are nearing a time whine SCOTUS hands down rulings and then will recess…… The 4th and 10th won't be ruling until Mid August or sometime near when SCOTUS is reviewing cases for next term…. Also, this insures that whichever party loses has SCOTUS available veto request a stay… etc….. the 10th and 4th Circuits won't rule in July when SCOTUS is on break…. could create messy situations…. So seem like we are just waiting for rulings IN, AK, KY, CO and LA. WV won't rule until 4th renders. I think we were spoiled with the constant weekly rulings and now this quiet period is boring……

  • 137. ebohlman  |  June 20, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I really can't see the SCOTUS's recess period affecting the timing of circuit court rulings; remember that a typical circuit court, by itself, usually rules on more than ten times as many cases as the SCOTUS does.

    AFAIK the SCOTUS still handles "emergency" requests from the circuits during the recess.

  • 138. haydenarwen  |  June 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Let's hope but it is the summer though!!!!!!

  • 139. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Unless they are on vacation, all SCOTUS justices are in the DC area. They maintain residences in Northern Virginia (locally known as NoVa), Maryland (mostly Montgomery County [MoCo] ) or in the District itself. Many people in the area call the DC Metro area the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia).

    And phones are almost ubiquitous (especially among staff and in the office the Justice maintains in the Supreme Court Building).

    The fly in the ointment might be if a Justice with a cell phone vacations in a 'dead' area. In those cases, however, the staff would have alternate means of contacting the Justice. When I worked for the Federal government, the head of the agency maintained a house in NoVa, and another house in Austin, TX. Checks were made by agency personnel to make sure cell phones worked at her Austin residence. Another time, the head of the agency maintained a house in NoVa, and another house in SW Iowa. Again, checks were made by agency personnel to make sure cell phones worked at the SW Iowa residence.

    And SCOTUS almost always (especially in the past 60 years) hands down ALL decisions on or before June 30 (10 calendar days, 6 work days, from now), leaving July, August and September (when many Circuit Courts are scheduling hearings) 'open'.

    Since the 4th Circuit for the past few years has been the fastest from the filing of a motion to handing down a ruling (approx. 4-1/2 months), and since the appeal was filed on February 24, I would expect a ruling from the 4th Circuit in the Bostic case no later than mid-July, if not sooner. I wouldn't expect any ruling, though, until after SCOTUS adjourns – I really don't think the judges on the 4th Circuit want to 'steal the thunder' from any SCOTUS decisions until after SCOTUS adjourns.

  • 140. Randolph_Finder  |  June 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    These days the justices are rarely completely out of touch due to final death penalty appeals. I don't know if any Justice has entirely "death penalty banned" states in his/her district(s), but I don't think so.

    Of the recent Supreme Court Justices, Souter is the only one that I could see being completely out of touch for more than 24 hours.

  • 141. OctaA  |  June 20, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    By districts I assume you mean all the states in a particular court of appeals.

    In which case Ginsburg who is the justice for the second circuit would have no death penalty appeals since New York, Connecticut and Vermont have all banned the death penalty.

    Although technically when Connecticut banned the death penalty it didn't apply retroactively and there are still 10 prisoners on death row, meaning there is still a slim chance Ginsburg might receive a final appeal.

    Although Roberts is justice for DC (which has banned the death penalty) he is also the justice for the federal government which has the death penalty and the 4th circuit of which Maryland and West Virginia are the only states that have banned the death penalty, (Virginia, North and South Carolina still have the death penalty).

    Finally the 1st and 7th circuits overseen by Breyer and Kagan respectively are only one state away from all jurisdictions having banned the death penalty, with New Hampshire (and possibly Puerto Rico) and Indiana still banning the death penalty. Puerto Rico is an odd case, since it bans the death penalty in its constitution, but being a commonwealth it is also subject to the federal government's rules on the death penalty which still allows it. So I'm not entirely sure whether it allows it or not.

  • 142. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    No execution has occurred in Indiana since December 2009. That, however, is not an indication that Indiana has eliminated capital punishment.

    Indiana, in fact, has NOT eliminated capital punishment for state purposes, and the Federal government maintains facilities at Terre Haute where it performs capital punishment.

    Of the states in the 7th Circuit (WI, IL, IN), Indiana is the ONLY state allowing capital punishment.

  • 143. OctaA  |  June 22, 2014 at 4:45 am

    This is what I was trying to say. That out of all the states in the 1st and 7th circuits. New Hampshire and Indiana are the only ones that STILL carry out the death penalty.

    All the other circuits have at least 2 or more states that still perform executions.

    I imagine that very soon New Hampshire will repeal the death penalty since repeal failed this year by a single vote. It passed in the House by a 2-1 majority but tied 12-12 in the senate. The governor had indicated she would have signed the bill if it passed.

    Indiana I can't imagine repealing the death penalty any time soon.

  • 144. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    So, if you "can't imagine [Indiana] repealing the death penalty any time soon", why did you earlier state "Indiana still banning the death penalty"?

    The two comments are completely contradictory.

  • 145. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    After a (granted) quick survey, it looks like the 2nd Circuit Court (NY, VT, CT) (with Ginsburg as the 'overseeing' Justice), and DC (with CJ Roberts as the 'overseeing' Justice) are the only two Circuits that don't have any states with death penalties. Roberts also is the 'overseeing' Justice for the 4th Circuit (which includes MD, VA, NC, SC and WV, all [except MD] with the death penalty) and the Federal Circuit (the Federal government also has the death penalty). Ginsburg, then appears to be the only Justice who would not need to maintain 'on-call' status for death penalty cases.

    In any case, though, all justices know if/when a death penalty appeal may reach their desk, and make sure they are available through one means or another if they need to make a decision. Even Ginsburg (if my quick search is correct), if/when an en banc decision might happen.

  • 146. Ragavendran  |  June 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I concur with others above, but here's a situation I have fun thinking about (regardless of the likelihood of it happening) – how I would orchestrate the drama if I could: The Fourth Circuit beats the Tenth and issues its opinion, and immediately allows marriages to proceed in Virginia (and presumably other states in the circuit). This would result in Virginia asking the Supreme Court for a stay. The Supreme Court, now that an appellate court has ruled, is less willing to issue a stay and denies the request (perhaps signaling that it doesn't want to take up an appeal this coming term). Meanwhile the Tenth Circuit rules, also in our favor, but it lacks the authority to lift the Supreme Court's stay for Utah. And it decides to let marriages start immediately in Oklahoma, prompting an application before the Supreme Court for a stay. Simultaneously, the Utah plaintiffs would ask the Supreme Court to vacate its own stay order in light of its denial of Virginia's stay. Then the Supreme Court denies the former request and grants the latter. This scenario would result in the Court being disturbed at least thrice (not counting possible applications from other states in the 4th and 10th circuits) during its recess period over the singular issue of gay marriage – which I'm sure will be a cause for significant annoyance 🙂

  • 147. LK2013  |  June 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I like the way you think, Ragavendran, it would be entertaining anyway to make the Supremes deal with the piecemeal legal chaos loose in the land.

  • 148. ebohlman  |  June 21, 2014 at 12:12 am

    IIRC, both sides in Bostic have asked the 4th to stay any ruling pending further appeal.

  • 149. Ragavendran  |  June 21, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Oh? Why do the Plaintiffs want a stay?

  • 150. Bruno71  |  June 21, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Gee. Wouldn't want to ANNOY them with such piddly matters as civil rights and equality.

  • 151. haydenarwen  |  June 22, 2014 at 4:34 am

    I like all the good insights……let's hope for some action soon then from one of the 4th/ 10th. My partner and I are in MI. I may be going to the 6th circuit hearing wai9tning on reply from a lawyer friend whose firm represent Deboer. He is not arguing the case…… but has worked on it.

  • 152. LK2013  |  June 20, 2014 at 7:14 am

    One nice thing in Obama's new guidelines about extended Federal benefits is that once you apply for Social Security benefits (in a state that recognizes your marriage), even if you move to a non-recognition state, your status will NOT be re-assessed , even if the application is still in progress.

    They say they've done everything they can, but there are some VA and Social Security provisions that only Congress can change.

  • 153. scream4ever  |  June 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Or a sweeping nationwide Supreme Court ruling.

  • 154. Ragavendran  |  June 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Here's a comprehensive account of the NOM-lead march about what the participants had to say. It is striking how much ignorance (willful or otherwise) is still out there. Judging by the video, they seem to really mean what they are saying too. Sad 🙁

  • 155. sfbob  |  June 20, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Apart from members of the clergy, the overall tenor of those who were interviewed is that they oppose marriage equality (and LGBT rights generally) because it "makes them uncomfortable." And THAT's what's really sad.

  • 156. KarlS  |  June 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Anyone who doubts that religion causes insanity only needs to take a look at these neanderthals.

  • 157. StraightDave  |  June 21, 2014 at 6:39 am

    …or that insanity causes religion. I'd say it's a close call, either way.

  • 158. bayareajohn  |  June 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Reading through the ignorant comments…. I am left to ask: If god hates gay and AIDS proves it, does god hate children (proven by polio), women (proven by breast cancer), and the poor (proven by republicans)?

  • 159. SeattleRobin  |  June 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Not long after I came out to my grandparents, my grampa sent me a brochure about how homosexuality was a sin and AIDS was proof. I felt like writing back and telling him that by that logic, lesbians were obviously God's chosen people, since we were least likely to contract AIDS. I resisted the impulse, but it was difficult! (The whole brochure focused on specifics to do with gay men, not women. But I doubt he – or the writers – ever even noticed, since ya know, women aren't as important.)

  • 160. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Two of my cousins had polio.

    My mother's father divorced her mother, then remarried another woman a month later (a woman he later divorced), leaving my mother living in an all-female household (my mother's mother's mother, her mother, her sister and my mother). The lack of a 'father' didn't seem to 'harm' my mother nor her sister, as my mother had three children; her sister five.

    My mother had small (shown to be benign) breast tumors several times over several decades (I didn't know about any of them until weeks after the lab results came back, and only because my sister told me.)

    My father died when I was 2-1/2. We didn't own anything (even the house was rented), so my brother, our mother and I lived with our paternal grandparents for more than two years. And yes, we were poor, so poor that one of my father's sisters suggested to my mother that she buy a quonset hut, convert it into a house, and live there. Thankfully, my mother told her in no uncertain terms that she would NOT consider such an approach. (I guess the GOTP would have called us 'rich poor' or something like that) as eventually a house was built for us with the help of my mother's brothers-in-law, the husbands of my mother's sisters-in-law and several cousins.

    The comments of the bigots who follow NOM make it very clear to me that some people still believe stereotypes are totally descriptive of all persons in a group, such as all Germans from the early 1930s until 1945 were Nazis; all Italians were/are members of the Mafia; all Jews were/are shyster banksters; etc.

  • 161. Margo Schulter  |  June 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    SeattleRobin, the same argument occurred me also, maybe especially when another lesbian woman told me that her parents weren’t so approving, because they were worried about AIDS! Actually at one women’s peace event there was a pamphlet on “Women and AIDS” which did address the very small possibility of transmission during lesbian sex, and some safer sex approaches. Of course, this was a realistic and LGBT-friendly pamphlet, as opposed to the brochure you had to deal with!

  • 162. Margo Schulter  |  June 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Ragavendran, if you can read me comment, one fine point: wasn’t the SCOTUS stay in Kitchen v. Herbert specified as in effect until a decision by the Tenth Circuit. So, once the Tenth Circuit in your scenario ruled for marriage equality — very likely, I’d say, based on the mood from Judge Holmes — that would lift the current stay. The State of Utah might then seek a stay pending the decision of their cert. petition, which would call for a decision — but they wouldn’t need to do anything in order to lift the stay, which the Tenth Circuit ruling would do for them, if I’m correct.

  • 163. Margo Schulter  |  June 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Randolph_Finder, the Second Circuit has all States which in the usual parlance for death penalty discussions are “abolitionist,” at least prospectively. Connecticut abolished the death penalty in 2012, but did make this abolition legislatively retroactive to commute the sentences of prisoners already on Death Row, so that State is not totally removed from the possibility of future decisions on stays of executions.

    Also, the federal death penalty statutes of 1988 (relating mostly to murders in the course of drug trafficking) and 1994 (covering a very wide range of homicidal offenses with aggravating factors, including terrorist acts) can lead to federal capital trials even in abolitionist jurisdictions, a sensitive matter recently in Rhode Island and also Puerto Rico, for example. So at some point there could, again, be applications for stays of federal death sentences from these jurisdictions.

  • 164. Margo Schulter  |  June 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    That should be, Connecticut did not make its abolition of the death penalty in 2012 retroactive to commute the sentences of Death Row prisoners.

  • 165. Margo Schulter  |  June 20, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Mike_Baltimore, you’ve raised a good question: whether the Federal Circuit would handle appeals from death sentences under federal statutes. The impression I get is that the Federal Circuit handles certain subject matter, with patent law as an example, but that federal death sentences are appealed from the District Courts to their Circuit Courts (e.g. the Sixth Circuit in one recent case heard first by a panel and then en banc from Michigan, itself an abolitionist state).

  • 166. SeattleRobin  |  June 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I figured others here would find this as interesting as I did, since the Prop 8 trial was the genesis of this site. It's a fairly in-depth interview with two of the plaintiffs, done in connection with the recent documentary, The Case Against 8. There's another interview with the two filmmakers that is also very interesting.

  • 167. Sagesse  |  June 21, 2014 at 5:11 am

    A good Saturday morning read – side by side book reviews, makes you want to read them both:

    How the Tide Turned on Gay Marriage [Daily Beast]

    "This is what history feels like. Two new books try and explain what happened, and they both focus on Perry as tipping-point: Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality, by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, the two litigators who successfully convinced Judge Walker to strike down Proposition 8, and Forcing the Spring, by Jo Becker, the New York Times journalist who followed, for five years, the case from the inside."

  • 168. JayJonson  |  June 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Thanks for linking to this article. I think, however, the reviewer gets it wrong when he writes, "And why can’t Cooper put up a better defense? Because he can’t raise the funds, marshal more compelling witnesses, and put together better arguments. His cause, like a rusty old jalopy, is falling apart before he turned the key. When Judge Walker grills him on the key question of how same-sex marriage could “harm opposite-sex marriage,” Cooper admits, “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.” "

    This makes it sound like the problem with the case for the proponents of Prop 8 was resources, but that wasn't the problem. It certainly wasn't the case that their cause was not popular in 2009, when the majority of Americans (and even Californians) were opposed to ssm. The problem is that they were hamstrung by having to dissemble. They couldn't argue what they really wanted to say.

    What they really thought was that gay people were inherently unworthy of equal treatment and that marriage was a religious institution that should be defined by the churches who financed Prop 8. They were unable to make those arguments, so they had to rely on David Blankenhorn's absurd argument that same-sex marriage would "deinstitutionalize" marriage. He was chosen precisely because he claimed to have based his conclusions on secular reasons and with no animus against gay people. All their other potential expert witnesses were either motivated by religion or by animus or both, and that would not wash in federal court.

  • 169. Sagesse  |  June 21, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I half agree with you. No amount of money would have let Cooper mount a credible case, because the 13 blue chip, marquee witnesses (17 minus the plaintiffs themselves) for the proponents' case don't exist… as you say, he had no case to make. They had to manufacture Regnerus, and we all saw how that worked out.

    However, even though I've followed this throughout, I never focussed on how well-resourced the pro-equality side was. Not one, but two nationally recognized law firms. Cooper wasn't surrounded by a small army. The cost of prepping and testimony of all those witnesses, travel costs, nothing like that was available to Cooper. What I'm saying is not that Cooper could have won with better resources… but the plaintiffs might not have gotten nearly as far as they did without the funding to bring that superbly argued case together.

    I don't dislike Charles Cooper… he was doing the job he was paid to do. But no amount of money on earth would be enough to compensate him for having to publicly impugn the integrity of Vaughan Walker, not just a federal district court judge, but the chief judge, no less. A last ditch legal strategy that had to be pursued, but still…

  • 170. JayJonson  |  June 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

    My point is simply that Cooper's problem was not a lack of resources. The proponents of Prop 8 had lots of money to spend. If they had good witnesses that they could use, they certainly could have prepped them, paid for their travel costs, and witness fees. That money was certainly available had Cooper wanted to use it. The proponents never lacked money. The problem was that Cooper knew that the argument they would make would not be effective and that the witnesses would be shredded by Boies and Olson. Cooper's hope was that the Supreme Court would uphold Prop 8 on the grounds that the people of California acted rationally when they voted to ban same-sex marriage. Four of the Justices would have bought that argument had it gone to the merits of the case.

    Yes, the resources of AFER were very helpful, especially insofar as the goal was not merely to win a legal battle, but also to change public opinion. That, in fact, was the great success of the epic battle against Prop 8. That is why it is so important a case. Windsor, it turns out, was more important from a legal perspective, but the Prop 8 case educated the public about the need for same-sex marriage and revealed that the opponents of same-sex marriage had no real argument against it.

  • 171. SeattleRobin  |  June 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    In the video interview that I mentioned above, the filmmakers made a couple related points. First of all, they said both sides were surprised when Walker decided on holding a trial, rather than just deciding on the motions as a matter of law, like we see in most of these cases. No one really expected that the plaintiffs would have to testify, or that expert witnesses would have to be wrangled.

    Second of all, the defendants were engaged in political action on the topic. They hadn't ever had to address things from a legal standpoint. What works for TV ads in an election doesn't work in a courtroom. Because of that, they were ill-equipped right from the start to deal with a trial. I got the impression that having to go to trial really discombobulated the defense.

  • 172. Sagesse  |  June 21, 2014 at 8:43 am

    This is just funny. For kicking back on a Saturday.

    NOM's Rally Crashed, Burned, Flopped, Failed, Fizzled, Disintegrated And Imploded All At Once [Daily KOS]

  • 173. Waxr  |  June 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Looking at the photos of the event it is difficult to see how thay can claim there were two thousand. It was a few hundred at most.

  • 174. KarlS  |  June 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I see in those pictures a LOT of people I would never ever let my children near. Seriously.

  • 175. bayareajohn  |  June 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    And consider how many were bussed in by Diaz from NY for free. I haven't seen a figure for this year, last year he brought 32 buses full… that's probably more people than the total for this year. Clearly they knew near the end that MOST of their audience was going to be via Diaz, or they would not have gone so very VERY Hispanic in the program and signs.

    We can indeed hope the lawmakers were impressed with the number of people and take that into consideration when weighing the consensus NOM pretends to bear.

  • 176. Sagesse  |  June 21, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Regnerus Study Backer Acknowledges That Marriage Equality Creates Family Stability [Right Wing Watch]

    "Buried in a National Catholic Register report on the biannual meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops [last] week is the surprising revelation that Brad Wilcox, one of the researchers behind Mark Regnerus’ infamously flawed study of same-sex parenting, admitted to attendees that most social scientists have found “no difference” between “a stable same-sex family and a stable heterosexual family.”

    Watch the video.

    Not connected to NOM's March 4 Marriage, except by timing, this is nevertheless further evidence that's the structure of NOM's coalition has multiple and major cracks. I see NOM rising from the ashes as part of Robert George's new Princeton Group, which looks more like a 'think tank' than an activist organization, or even a lobby group. After all, there will be no more elections to be fought… the remaining state DOMA amendments will fall through judicial rulings before they are repealed. Federal judges aren't affected by protests outside their courtrooms, and aren't exposed to retention votes. Donors will give them money to write a doomed federal marriage amendment.

  • 177. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

    It doesn't get much attention, because it doesn't get much attention.

    Without fanfare, Obama advances transgender rights [Detroit Free Press]

  • 178. davepCA  |  June 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    This weekend, I met an adorable lesbian couple from Salt Lake City who were here visiting San Francisco. We had a great conversation, comparing stories about their recent experience during the first days that same sex couples were marrying in Utah, and my experience here in SF one year ago this week, the day the 9th circuit lifted the stay in the Prop 8 case and same sex couples once again began marrying here in SF. The couple I was talking to this weekend reminded me a lot of a couple I met one year ago. That couple had driven all night from a tiny town at the northern edge of California as soon as they had heard that the stay was lifted, to get married at the SF City Hall. I got to be their witness on that day and it was an amazing experience. My conversation this weekend reminded me of that day, and what this is all about.

    The opposition can have their anti-gay picnics, and they can troll the internet to spew their irrational prejudice and petty childish insults, but it's all just pointless background noise. More and more same sex couples are getting married, and the absolute joy that I witnessed one year ago is being repeated over and over again, in more and more places across the country.

  • 179. davepCA  |  June 22, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Temporarily. Like water building up behind a dam. Tick tock.

    And despite the temporary stays in some of the current trials, you seem to be forgetting that there are now 19 states (plus Washington D.C.) that now give same sex couples equal access to civil marriage. And that number will only continue to grow.

    And BTW you still have no argument, ya silly troll.

  • 180. bayareajohn  |  June 22, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Fun how he thinks postponing implementation for the cases HE LOST is something to gloat over. "Ha-ha, I've lost, but not quite yet…. ha-ha!"

    But I guess when you've got nothing else…

  • 181. Waxr  |  June 23, 2014 at 7:39 am

    The possible reasons for granting a stay are multiple. Courts granting a stay is quite common in cases where the decision would overturn an existing law, and it has nothing to do with the likely hood of the decision beeing overturned.

  • 182. bayareajohn  |  June 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    More bull from the no-life shill for NOM. If you don't like what's true, just say it isn't and expect your dumb followers not to check.
    While it varies some from state to state, here's California's appellate spec from the state's own site:

    "The side that appeals (the appellant) can ask the appellate court to decide if certain kinds of legal errors (mistakes) were made:

    * Prejudicial error: This kind of error is a mistake about the law or court procedures that causes substantial harm to the appellant. Prejudicial error can include things like mistakes made by the judge about the law, incorrect instructions given to the jury, and errors or misconduct by the lawyers or by the jury. The mistakes must have harmed the appellant.

    * No substantial evidence: The appellant can ask the appellate court to determine if there was no substantial evidence that reasonably supported the trial court's decision.

    "Remember, the appellate court will not consider new evidence. An appeal is not a new trial."

  • 183. sfbob  |  June 23, 2014 at 7:35 am

    What a strange legal landscape you must inhabit.

  • 184. jjcpelayojr  |  June 23, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I seem to remember Gov. Chris Christie also didn't fight it in NJ at his Sate Supreme Court. Did he conspire with all those state judges too?

  • 185. Randolph_Finder  |  June 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

    West Virginia, like Indiana, also has ME banned by State Law. And Oregon if things hadn't gone the way that they did , it was almost certain to remove the ban on SSM from the constitution in November.

    The following states have ME still banned in their state constitution and Democratic Governors: Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, and Montana. Note of the 3 states you listed (CA, OR, PA), two had Republican Governors at the time of "the conspiracy".

    ME Banned in state constitution and Democratic AG: Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada.

  • 186. Waxr  |  June 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

    You are getting poor legal advice. There are legal challenges in each of the states which still has bans on ME. The next step up from the federal district courts are the appeals courts. Federal Appeals Courts have up to nine states under them, and any decision they make will apply to each state within their jurisdiction, although the decisions may be stayed.

    The major arguments have already been considered with even conservative judges voting in favor of ME, so don't expect future decisions to be different. If the Supreme Court does not listen to the cases, then the lower court's decisions stand.

  • 187. Margo Schulter  |  June 22, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Since the Baker issue has been of interest to the various District Court judges who have handled it with much aplomb, I might just briefly comment on why the judges in these cases are getting it right.

    The commonsense conclusion is that although summary affirmances or dismissals under the old system where SCOTUS had no discretion to refuse cert. for certain types of appeals are indeed precedents, they are less weighty precedents than decisions reached after a full hearing of the case.

    In a short-term situation like Hicks v. Miranda (1975), where the summary dismissal in Miller v. California (II) (1974) had only come down the previous year, the relevant advice was simply that the District Court should have taken this SCOTUS decision as authoritative until SCOTUS said otherwise.

    In the situation of Baker, where so much water has gone under the bridge in the last 42 years — in the areas of gender discrimination and sexual orientation — the “doctrinal developments” exception is telling as defining how a summary affirmance or dismissal, although certainly a precedent (quite unlike denial of cert!), does not carry the same weight.

    The fact that Justice Scalia did not mention Baker in his Windsor dissent is quite consistent with the conclusions reached by the several District Courts so far weighing post-Windsor marriage equality cases. Judge Crabb is especially thorough and enlightening on this and a number of other points.

  • 188. Margo Schulter  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Civil marriage is a real legal relationship, with RnL_2008 as a fine example. When Rose and her wife married in 2008, that was a legal marriage in California, and the California Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that, even though Proposition 8 had amended the California Constitution as to the definition of marriage (putting aside the Fourteenth Amendment, which wasn’t at issue in that case), marriages already in place before Prop 8 passed remained valid. In fact, the Court held that to rule otherwise and invalidate those marriages would be a violation of due process. So they were and are real marriages — just like all the ones contracted since SCOTUS left Judge Walker’s ruling as the final word holding Proposition 8 unconstitutional. They are real civil marriages, notwithstanding the kind of “jurisprudence” than would seek to impose extraneous definitions.

  • 189. Margo Schulter  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:39 am

    SCOTUS justices sometimes consider the process of “making haste slowly” on expanding the scope of constitutional decisions as a necessary restraint, even though they are aware that it means a prolongation of injustice. It’s very misguided to read this as meaning that if the Court declines to hear a case, or stays a lower court decision, or whatever, this is a safe basis for predicting that the Court intends to reject the claim at issue.

    A classic example is “the case that dare not speak its Naim” — that is, Naim v. Naim, a miscegenation case that came up in Virginia shortly after Brown v. Board of Education. The general verdict of history is that interracial marriage simply seemed to hot of a political potato for the Court to handle when it was already taking all the heat on school desegregation, with a movement underway to exert “massive resistance” to integration.

    The way I read the “Gay means stay” policy is simply that the Court wants to look judicious, and wants to avoid the impression that it would permit the marriage equality issue to be decided by a series of precipitous fait accompli scenarios where state laws were overturned by District Court decisions before any Circuit Court review could take place.

    During the oral arguments last year, we heard sentiments that some progressive justices didn’t want to “move too fast,” or appear to be cutting off debate by unilateral fiat. Since then, the logic of events may be producing a reasonable compromise solution: a rather speedy series of District Court and then Circuit Court decisions which arrive at a strong (although likely not unanimoous) sense that Equal Protection (and maybe also Due Process) standards require marriage equality.

    My guess is that some of the justices are relieved that this won’t evidently be a process taking 20 or 30 years, but more like 2-3 years. And they may feel that, to protect their institution and its prestige during this process, having couples denied their rights for a relatively few months (as opposed to a few decades!) may be a necessary injustice.

    The human impacts can be outrageous, but staying a decision and overturning it are two very different things. For any who doubt this, consider Judge Walker’s decision in California striking Proposition 8.

  • 190. Margo Schulter  |  June 23, 2014 at 2:49 am

    For the purpose of Kitchen v. Herbert, I’d take the “likelihood” that the State of Utah might prevail as a rather specific institutional proposition: that four justices of SCOTUS would likely vote to grant cert. Of course they likely would: Windsor expressly reserved the issue of state marriage laws that denying equal treatment to same sex couples.

    Expressly reserving an issue at once helps define the scope of the holding in a given case, and often hints that the Court may be interested in considering the reserved issue in a future case. It can be a kind of advertisement for the next episode in this saga, a bit like a cliffhanger in the old movie serials. “Now we know that Edith Windsor’s legal marriage in New York had to be respected by the federal government — but what about Jane Doe and Nancy Smith who live in Utah, and want to get married (and enjoy the federal benefits we now know they would be entitled to under Windsor?”

    In various areas of law, “likelihood” need not mean “50% probability or more”: it simply means that there’s a weighty issue that reasonably could be decided in either direction. Here, it means more specifically that four justices would likely vote to grant cert. — even if the other five would likely sustain the District Court decision, maybe joined by some of the four who voted for cert.

  • 191. davepCA  |  June 23, 2014 at 11:47 am

    …. and the trolls continue to tap dance around the issue, with no attempt to argue on the merits of the real issue because they have no argument to back up their rhetoric.

    The facts and evidence in over a dozens consecutive trials are quite clear. The basic concepts of Constitutional Law upon which these decisions are being based are quite clear.

    All laws must serve a legally valid purpose, and must comply with the principles in our federal Constitution. A civil law, or state amendment, cannot exist simply to subject a targeted group to harmful denial of equal protection when doing so fails to advance a states interest. They cannot exist simply to allow one group of citizens to disadvantage or express disapproval of another group of citizens. Those are not valid purposes for a law and there are no states interests associates with such motivations. Such laws are unnecessary, counterproductive, and harmful. They accomplish nothing other than discrimination for its own sake, and they fail to pass basic tests for constitutional compliance.

    And the opposition has never had an argument against these basic facts. There are none.

  • 192. Margo Schulter  |  June 23, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    In response to bayareajohn: An additional point is that in cases like the Proposition 8 case in Judge Walker’s courtroom, and more recently DeBoer v. Snyder in Michigan with Judge Friedman, what takes place is indeed a District Court trial in every sense, with the judge hearing, assessing, and weighing the evidence, including the credibility of witnesses.

    Here the trial judge’s findings of fact carry considerable weight: for example, in the appeal of DeBoer now before the Sixth Circuit, Judge Friedman’s finding that Mark Regnerus and his study were not credible in establishing any rational basis for Michigan’s marriage ban. The findings are not simply set aside by an appellate court, but carry great weight.

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