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Equality news round-up: North Carolina marriage equality news, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Fourth Circuit map
Fourth Circuit map
– One of the challenges to North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban is now on hold pending issuance of the mandate in Bostic v. Schaefer, while plaintiffs in a case challenging the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside of the state are asking for a ruling in their favor, based on the Fourth Circuit’s ruling in Bostic.

– The parties to one challenge to Alabama’s refusal to recognize out of state same-sex marriages have agreed that the case can be resolved on summary judgment, without a trial. The case is likely to be resolved next year.

– The Washington Post discusses Baker v. Nelson, a 1972 summary dismissal by the Supreme Court in a marriage case.

– The American Bar Association has endorsed LGBT protections.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. SWB1987  |  August 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

    If SCOTUS doesn't intervene will only Virginia or the entire circuit have ME?

  • 2. DaveM_OH  |  August 18, 2014 at 8:50 am

    If no stay is issued by SCOTUS,
    (a) Marriage equality is the law of the land in Virginia.
    (b) Pending cases in the other states in the 4th Circuit will see motions filed same-day to find in favor of equality by summary judgment.
    (c) Activist clerks in WV, NC, and SC may start issuing licenses in contravention of current law, but in accordance with the 4th Circuit decision.
    (d) Fast forward 3-5 days… Federal district court judges in WV, NC, and SC will issue orders finding in favor of the plaintiffs motions for summary judgment and marriage equality is the law of the entire 4th Circuit.

    Notwithstanding the above: SCOTUS will consider a certiorari petition from the 4th Circuit, and we could be back to status quo ante, reverting to in force the bans in WV, VA, NC, and SC, but not necessarily invalidating the marriages performed.

  • 3. Dave_wx  |  August 18, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Immediately speaking only Virginia but the other states in the Circuit would follow close behind.

  • 4. MichaelGrabow  |  August 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Next year?! Is Alabama aware that it is only August?

  • 5. Fledge01  |  August 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

    None of these laws are changing. Its only that courts are hearing challenges to bans which the state governments think is the law. When the courts see that the bans are unconstitutional, and thus null and void, they are enforcing injunctions against the states. A government official does not need a court to rule in favor of them to issue licenses if the ban is null and void, except that the state Attorneys General or District Attorneys can bring charges against those officials if they think they can convict.

    Some states, without any judges orders telling them how to act, are NOT enforcing their own bans if they think the ban is not really the law. Nor should they, since they have taken an oath to enforce the U.S constitution just as much as they have taken an oath to enforce their state constitution. If a ban is unconstitutional under the US constitution, that ban cannot be a valid part of their state constitution and they have no obligation to enforce it or defend it. The only time an appeals court has to revisit the issue of ban's in other states (who weren't party to the original appeal) is if those other states are not interpreting the legality of their own bans in conformity with reasoning of how the appeal court ruled on the other states' bans.

    In order for this practice of not enforcing a state ban to be acceptable, after an appeal court ruled against another state's ban, is if the state enforcing its ban can differentiate the facts in its case from the facts in the previous appeal. Any court ruling only applies to situations with the same set of facts. This is where its important to see if an appeal ruling is broad or narrow, whether it applies to out of state marriages or in-state marriages, or other possible limiting differentiations. Sometimes a state official will say, that ruling doesn't apply to me. And they are right in the sense that all rulings have some action tied to the interpretation, such as injunctions that list specific people and specific tasks to do or to avoid doing.

    Regardless, the interpretation of the law does apply to them and if their facts are, by and large, indistinguishable from the facts in the previous ruling it is disingenuous to take actions to enforce a ban you clearly should know is, and always has been, null and void. I think courts can order damages and attorney fees, if states are just being difficult with no bases in law.

    Unfortunately, it only has to be an honest belief you are right, even if you are eventually found wrong. Its only when its so blatant that it greatly insults the legal process that they could get in trouble. But its so easy for a court to issue a summary judgment without a new trial if they have already ruled on a simmilar case, that there won't be a need for a long several months long wait while each party issues briefs. The court will want to dispose of the weak cases immediately.

  • 6. Mike_Baltimore  |  August 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    In the Fourth Circuit, I am getting the feeling that SC and WV will be stubborn and state that they are holding sincere beliefs in upholding ME bans (involving in-state and/or out-of state marriages, which means we'll have to wait until a case from those states hits the Appeals Court), NC will acquiesce to the ruling fairly quickly, and the ruling applies fully to VA. Fortunately, MD already has ME, so the ruling doesn't have much, if any, affect on the state of MD.

    The big question now is if SCOTUS stays the ruling or not.

  • 7. SeattleRobin  |  August 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

    To Brandall:

    I finally got a chance to read the Witherspoon Institute article by Regnerus and am posting here since the other thread is already a few days old.

    As I predicted, I didn't find much to tear apart, at least based on the article. The one really weak point is that the gay Christian category is overinclusive. For the other two Christian categories, inclusion was based not just on self-identifying as belonging to a Christian sect, but also on regular church attendance. There was no attendance filter for the gay group, so it likely includes people who are casual, or in name only Christians, which probably skews the numbers somewhat. That doesn't mean the numbers are entirely meaningless though.

    In the article Regnerus did address the fact that Christian attitudes about sexuality in general have been changing, so opinions on SSM should be seen as a part of the shift. He didn't seem to be suggesting a cause and effect relationship.

    In the final parts of the article he briefly discusses the influence of reference groups. I think that's legit and is likely an important factor, especially in terms of members of the queer community. But what he didn't discuss at all is the influence of church doctrine.

    As a massive generalization, fundamentalism uses a top down view. The Bible and the Church dictate doctrine and morality. There are a lot of rules and in order to be right with God you have to follow them. (And in believers' views, everyone else should too.) In liberal churches there is more of an emphasis on a personal relationship with God, and deciding complex moral issues based on your own understanding of church teachings. This less rigid approach leads to being less judgemental in general and more likely to include more nuanced opinions on morality.

    While the above could all be included under the reference group umbrella, I think it's important enough in itself to have warranted some discussion, which was left out.

  • 8. brandall  |  August 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Hey, thanks! Your comments were very helpful. Honestly, I just hate what his table is saying solely because it will be used to paint LB's are abnormal. It's what will be used for.

    This interesting post below does tell us two important methodology facts: 1) this is not a published, reviewed study, and 2) only this single table has been released with no sampling errors or for that matter anything about how the study was conducted or the data was cross-tabbed.

    What a sleaze bucket.

  • 9. SeattleRobin  |  August 19, 2014 at 11:39 am

    The Box Turtle summary at the end is the way I see it. Regnerus attempting to make ME a pivot point won't get him anywhere, because it's obvious to anyone with a couple brain cells that opinions on these issues are all interrelated. It's not only common sense, but the data he presented demonstrates that.

    I don't have any reason to believe that his table doesn't accurately reflect reality. If asked before reading his article, I would have said the results would look something like what he came up with, though I would have been off on exact numbers. The most surprising thing to me was the low acceptance of abortion in the general population group. I'm not sure that meshes with other surveys, but I haven't looked it up.

  • 10. bayareajohn  |  August 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Baker Shmaker.
    The POST article fails to discuss how appellate procedure at the time of BAKER required SCOTUS to respond to such state appeals, it was not by cert, or willful selection for hearing, as it is today. So a rejection without hearing was simultaneously a statement that SCOTUS didn't want to hear it, AND a creation of "precedent" that such cases as so rejected should not be appealed in the future. However, over time the arguments that failure to rule should not become a rule in itself, and doctrinal and procedural developments enlarged the concept of "ripeness" as a key reason for SCOTUS review or rejection, the mandatory acceptance of BAKER type cases was undone, and SCOTUS can now decide not to hear a case without prejudice or precedent. Arguably, they may well have simply denied cert if BAKER had occurred after the law change, instead of effectively summarily endorsing the judgement below without hearing or comment.

    This is a huge reason to distinguish BAKER's precedential value, over and above and in addition to the actual subject matter doctrinal evolution in the last 40 years.

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