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Equality news round-up: Florida case heads to Eleventh Circuit, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– The plaintiffs in several challenges to North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban, Amendment 1, are asking for reconsideration of decisions to put the challenges on hold pending the outcome of the Bostic case at the Supreme Court. In two cases, plaintiffs are asking for the stay to be completely lifted, and in another challenge the plaintiffs want the court to allow some briefing in order to ensure that the challenge can be resolved as soon as the Fourth Circuit’s mandate in Bostic is issued.

– A state judge in Missouri will hear a challenge on Thursday to the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage’s performed outside of the state.

– The opening brief in the appeal of the federal case striking down Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is due in the Eleventh Circuit on October 15.

– A new Pew Research poll seems to suggest that support for marriage equality may be leveling off.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. JayJonson  |  September 23, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Here is a link to an interesting article in the NY Times about the attorneys hoping to get to SCOTUS with their marriage equality cases:

  • 2. robbyinflorida  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Good article. Ted Olson is right. The Utah case does not deal with DOMA section II. Hearing the Virginia case, he told the justices, would “enable the court to resolve all aspects of the marriage-equality question in a single opinion without leaving lingering questions and uncertainty for lower courts, states and the American public.”

    The Utah case has the risk that litigation could drag on for years.

  • 3. rob2017  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Fischer (the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Oklahoma case) alluded to the Utah and Virginia cases also dealing with recognition of out of state marriages (DOMA section II), as a contrast to the OK case.

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I would prefer the duet of Ted Olson and David Boies to be honest personally but all of those attorneys have impressive records on marriage equality. If the judges decide to take one case out of all these though, each and every one of those attorneys will get behind the main attorney hopefully.

  • 5. BobxT  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Great article.
    I like how he highlights the farcical aspects of the situation.

  • 6. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Considering the Pew poll is well within a reasonable margin for error, I wouldn't take the results at face value. In addition, I have never considered Pew to be reliable or entirely unbiased. Take that as you will.

  • 7. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 23, 2014 at 10:13 am

    And Gallup found, several months before the Pew poll (in May, 2014), that support for ME is at 55%, again above the 50% level it has consistently found since before 2011. Pew also found (in February 2014) that support was at 54%.

    So either Pew hit a pocket of 'non-support' for ME (doubtful), Gallup keeps hitting pockets of 'support' (also doubtful),, or the Pew poll showing 49 per cent support is what pollsters call 'an outlier'. Not by much, but still 'an outlier'.

    The results also could be how people responded to the question(s) asked, and/or the interpretation of the responses.

    Also, Pew makes a big deal of the drop in support it claims to have found. Gallup also has seen dips (3 of them, in fact – 04-05, 07-08, and 11-12), but didn't make a big deal over those drops in support. According to Gallup, the general slope of 'support' has been UP (from 27% support in 1996 to 55% support now), and the 'non-support' has been DOWN (from 68% non-support in 1996 to 42% non-support now).
    (… – then scroll down a bit to see the poll results)

    I'm not saying Gallup is entirely correct (the support and non-support numbers might be off somewhat, but the general slope of what Gallup has found cannot be easily dismissed, unlike the 'polls' Regnerus, et. al. have said they conducted.

  • 8. JayJonson  |  September 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

    The latest NY Times/CBS poll has support for same-sex marriage at 57%, with opposition at a historic low of 37%. The Pew Research poll is an outlier, but worse, I suspect that it is deliberately misleading.

    Just as Witherspoon Institute paid Regnerus to manufacture a faux study for the benefit of the Supreme Court last year, I suspect the good religious folk at Pew Research are doctoring the books in order to influence the Supreme Court.

  • 9. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Washington Post/ABC poll from March of this year found a whopping 59% support to 34% opposition:

  • 10. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    One reason I don't rely on a single poll citing a single issue's support or decline over a single year is that such polls entirely depend on a single set of people responding to the poll.

    Rather, I rely on the results of several polls. And I don't try to 'adjust' the polls' results as many (need I say who?) tried in 2012 to show that Robme was actually leading.

  • 11. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

    If SCOTUS turns down all requests for cert this term, it almost certainly will have to accept a case (or more) next term, as there will be additional cases, and there will also be a Circuit 'split'.

    The 9CA will almost assuredly rule in our favor, the only question will be if Idaho appeals or not (I'd be very surprised, but pleasantly surprised, if Idaho didn't), but I expect unfavorable rulings in the 5th, 6th, and/or 11th, thus the Circuit 'split'. SCOTUS is very uncomfortable with one set of rules for one or more circuits, with a completely different (even diametrically opposite) set of rules for one or more other circuits, and that is why they take Circuit 'split' cases ahead of other cases.

    Thus we will have ME as 'settled law' by June 2015 (if SCOTUS accepts one or more cases before it now, or by June 2016, as it will almost certainly have to rule where there is a Circuit 'split', as would then almost assuredly be the case.

  • 12. Riovistan  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Can you tell me why you are so sure the 5th circuit is certain to uphold the bans? I thought this court was more moderate how that Obama has appointed several judges.

  • 13. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

    The 5th Circuit is made up of mostly Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. appointees (10 + 5 senior status) with a minority from Obama (3), Clinton (3), and Carter (2). There are two vacancies and no pending nominations.

    Not that being a Reagan or Bush appointee has always been a bad thing, as several have voted in our favor, but the 5th Circuit is also historically very conservative in its decisions.

  • 14. JayJonson  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Many of the appointees by Democratic Presidents have been very conservative. Nominees need the support of home state Senators and even the Democratic Senators in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi tend to be conservative, to say nothing of the Republican ones. So there are virtually no liberals on the Fifth Circuit, just a few who are less conservative than the others.

  • 15. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

    That too, Jay, unfortunately

  • 16. Zack12  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Indeed, even the Obama nominees are of the Blue Dog variety.

  • 17. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I wouldn't count on that idea, really…Obama has had pretty dependable judicial nominees so far. The problem is that there really are only three of them in a largely conservative group of people. We could win the lottery and get all three – that would be our best chance at victory really. So, it's not impossible, just highly improbable set of circumstances.

  • 18. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I accidentally downvoted you before, Zack. My mistake. Meant to upvote you, sorry. I'm suffering from fat finger syndrome today, haha!

  • 19. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I'm not certain the 5CA will uphold the bans, but the probability is certainly there. And more moderate does not necessarily mean anything but the rulings are a bit less CONservative, but still CONservative (or less liberal, but still liberal).

    I, and most court observers, was very surprised when the 5CA struck down the Mississippi abortion law, but that is an exception to the usual judicial and political philosophy the 5CA usually exhibits, and why almost everyone was surprised when that ruling came down. The 5CA seems to be the most political appeals court, but I might be prejudiced against CONservative court rulings . Maybe that's why the 5CA seems more political to me than the others.

    Maybe it's like living next to train tracks. At first, every train passing in the night wakes a person, but very soon, people tend to 'ignore' the noise of the passing trains and sleep through the night. (I used to live within a couple hundred feet of mainline tracks of the B&O before it merged with the C&O, and can attest to the wake/sleep when trains passed). The more favorable the court ruling, the less it grates on my nerves. The less favorable the ruling, the more it grates on my nerves. And the rulings emanating from the 5CA seem to grate on my nerves more than the rulings of other circuits. Maybe that's why, when a ruling 'goes against the grain' of 'usual and/or expected', the ruling sticks out like a sore thumb.

    I also didn't say it would be the 5CA, or the 6CA, or the 11CA that would rule against us, nor did I say all would rule for us, but I'm fairly certain some combination of the 3 courts will rule against us, thus creating the Circuit split SCOTUS doesn't like. All it takes is one for there to be a Circuit split on the issue of ME.

  • 20. RQO  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I did not know Pew Charitable Trust was religion biased (after all these years of hearing them quoted on PBS). Hmm – yes there's always one poll that's an outlier. But it is possible there is a bit of a backlash going on. ME may seem already decided to some people, and now they are sensitive to the moaning and groaning about religious liberties being trampled. Would love to know what percentage of poll respondents always vote for the perceived underdog.Also – not that the polling firms would ever discuss it – how many people take delight in lying/providing incorrect answers?

  • 21. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:29 am

    The Christian Science Monitor was started by Christian Scientists but isn't very religious – often quite the opposite, almost to the point of changing their name on several occasions. Religious origins doesn't always mean biased reporting or polling.

  • 22. JayJonson  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Pew Research is technically nonpartisan, but it is a subsidiary of Pew Charitable Trust, which was established as a merger of several trusts and foundations established by the very politically conservative Pew Family in order to further religion. They have since branched out tp lots of other areas, including environmental and health issues, but the Pew Charitable Trust retains a strong interest in religion and in furthering religion.

    This current poll is typical of Pew Research polls in that they tend to offer comforting news to religious folk. Despite abundant evidence that Americans now attend religious services far less frequently than they used to and many more now identify as "unaffiliated" or "none" when asked about their religion, Pew Research is quick to come up with polls that suggest that people really want more religion in public life and same-sex marriage support is dwindling just in time for the Supreme Court.

  • 23. Nyx  |  September 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    RQO, in addition to the complaint by the anti-equality side that "religious liberties are being trampled" you also have the "your vote doesn't count" along with "you are being called a Bigot" if you voted for marriage restrictions. When it took more than 50% of the voting population to pass such amendments it is not surprising it's bitter medicine to take when you are being reminded what you did in the past.

  • 24. guitaristbl  |  September 23, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I wonder what the chances would be in the 11th circuit honestly. On a first look, if we do not take senior judges under consideration, it is full of Obama and Clinton appointees with the chief being a G.H.W Bush appointee from Alabama (can't see much sympathy there) and only one another judge being a G.W. Bush appointee (weirdly enough – not – the only other judge from Alabama). And then there is an odd Ford appointee there who is 85 years old and still standing. Of course these are southern democrats (almost all from Miami and Atlanta though) so you don't know how they may react on such a case. But honestly I can see a very good chance of prevailing there on first look. I don't know if anyone who knows more about that circuit thinks otherwise.

    On the other hand I have to ask : Is there any possible panel composition in the 5th that can affirm the texas decision ?
    To be honest the 8th looks worse, especially given that the judges that made the 2006 decision are still lingering there..

    P.S. Why all this talk about the Pew poll ? It's just a statistical anomaly. It may give NOM reasons to celebrate some "reversal of the trend" but let's be serious. The generational curve is steep and still going and not likely to bend anytime soon.
    Also given the detailed results based on religious affiliation, we see that the real problem are white evangelicals, hardly surprising. But they are a declining ilk anyway.
    It should also be noted that gay people are considered the most discriminated against group in the same poll and also, a plurarity, borderline majority, rejects the notion that wedding related businesses should be allowed to discriminate against LGBT people. Here the only other religious group that opposed marriage equality, black catholics (I think), also rejects by large margins that notion.
    Finally a majority of non evangelical republicans who disagree with the party's stance on same sex marriage, say that the party is too conservative (as opposed to abortion for example that thinks that the party is "too liberal").
    Of course the majority of evangelicals believe that somehow the party is "too liberal" on same sex marriage. What is more conservative to this bigoted ilk than opposing any kind of LGBT measure and refusing to repeal non enforcable sodomy bans ? Public flogging in accordance to their "christian" values ? They are doing a great job marginalizing themselves from society when they make such statements in polls.

  • 25. sfbob  |  September 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    What I found most interesting in the Pew survey was that "Hispanic Catholics" favor marriage equality more than does the general Catholic population. I'm not sure what to make of that precisely other than to suspect that the religious right is going to discover (if it hasn't already) that the Hispanic population will not present the golden opportunity they would like to think it does.

  • 26. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    CONservatives think that the Catholic population thinks like the Catholic hierarchy thinks, and since the Catholic hierarchy is generally (or more) in agreement with CONservative thinking, Those Catholics (especially Hispanic-Catholics) 'who sit in the pews' do not agree 'in lock step' with the hierarchy (in fact, they may disagree with their hierarchy more than most), and thus are not readily persuadable to join the GOTP.

    The CONservatives haven't figured out that that is not the case, thus keep thinking "Hispanic means Catholic, which means total (or almost total) agreement with our positions."

    Hopefully they keep thinking like that for several more election cycles, and not addressing the needs of Hispanic-Americans.

  • 27. ebohlman  |  September 23, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Hispanics tend to be a very young crowd, with a median age somewhere in the late 20s. Thus they're a group that would be likely predisposed toward equality based on age alone.

  • 28. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Ooooh. Anonymously punish me with downvotes again. I'M SO SCARED.

    #Sarcasm. Not scared. Still going to express my opinion.

    *giant raspberry* :oP

    Threaten me with something good.

  • 29. guitaristbl  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Does it really matter ? I mean we are discussing judicial proceedings here, this whole vote up/down thing is just so tedious..

  • 30. ragefirewolf  |  September 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    No, it doesn't really – at all. I'm just having fun annoying anonymous silent trolls.

  • 31. Jen_in_MI  |  September 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Indeed. Keep on keeping on, my friend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 32. weight loss Diets&hellip  |  September 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm

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