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Equality news round-up: News on marriage cases from Louisiana, Missouri, and more

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Attorney General Eric Holder. Attribution: Wikipedia
Attorney General Eric Holder. Attribution: Wikipedia
– Attorney General Eric Holder will be stepping down, and Buzzfeed notes that one of the possible contenders for US Attorney General is Jenny Durkan, who is a lesbian.

Metro Weekly looks at AG Holder’s LGBT rights legacy.

– Conservatives have formed a coalition to fight against pro-LGBT Republicans.

– The federal government is suing some companies alleging anti-transgender discrimination.

– The appeal of the state court ruling declaring Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional has been filed.

– Yesterday, a state court in Missouri heard a marriage recognition case, and Equality Case Files has noted where to find Twitter reports from the hearing.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. DrPatrick1  |  September 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Unrelated (sorry) but I noted on my pay stub that my employer is reporting imputed income on my husband's health insurance benefits. This is standard procedure for domestic partner (non-federal dependent health benefits) but this is illegal post Windsor for Married couples. I encourage everyone to check their pay stubs, and if there is any imputed income (common and appropriate for employer sponsored life insurance) make sure you ask your HR department to clarify why they are reporting imputed income. This type of "income" reporting will not change your take home pay, but it will affect your tax burden next year. If you are married, do not allow your employer to report your spouses health insurance benefits as imputed income!

  • 2. franklinsewell  |  September 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    DrPatrick is correct. The IRS no longer requires this disparate treatment amongst legally married couples, no matter whether they reside in a state that recognizes their marriage or not.

  • 3. Dal_i_gredu  |  September 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    But remember that it is possible to have a federally recognized marriage that is not recognized by your state of residence. In that case your spouse's health benefits may indeed be taxable by the state. It's a horrible mess and the reverse of what many pre-Windsor married couples faced (where their benefits were federally taxable, but not taxed by the state).

  • 4. DrPatrick1  |  September 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    This may be possible, but still not reported as imputed income on your tax forms. This would not be imputed income to the federal government.

    Incidentally, I was married in CA while living in NM. NM SC allowed me to marry here, but the decision came down after I planned my CA marriage. I work and live in NM, and am employed by a TN corporation whose payroll is done in SC. The response by the "professional" payroll company was that they were not aware "those people" could be married or that such a thing was even legal. The level of ignorance was so shocking that it made me wonder if this sort of institutional systematic discrimination was affecting other families.

    It does not matter what state you live or work in, this should not be happening post Windsor!

  • 5. Dr. Z  |  September 26, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Why wouldn't the imputed tax issue be governed by ERISA rather than state law? Certainly ERISA was the controlling law pre-Windsor and prevented equitible treatment in marriage equality states.

  • 6. DrPatrick1  |  September 26, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Here is a relevant link which may help this situation.

  • 7. Dr. Z  |  September 26, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Ah. So there's no longer an imputed federal income tax, but nonequality states can still dock you.

    If you live in a state that doesn't recognize your SSM that was entered into prior to 2011, you might want to consider filing for a prospective refund on your 2011 taxes before April 15 2015. That will preserve your ability to request a refund for longer than the usual three year window. In the spring of 2013, with the Windsor decision pending, we did that for our 2009 tax year, which made a big difference in our refund.

    Whether it makes sense for you to do this just depends on your tax situation, of course. In our case there is a pretty big difference in our incomes, and the person with the smaller income had some losses that would have significantly reduced the tax liability of the person with the larger income if they'd have been able to claim them.

  • 8. brandall  |  September 26, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    My wonderful husband works for the City of SF and I get my health insurance through the city. About 1 week post-DOMA, they sent a communication that they would retroactively recompute the taxes on his income for our health insurance. I was very impressed at how quickly they provided the revised W2's for the previous 3 years. SF rocks while many companies/municipalities play stupid or try to ignore the entire topic.

  • 9. Dr. Z  |  September 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Not just playing stupid. They weren't required to under the advisory issued by the IRS after Windsor. SF is being very nice by going beyond what is legally required (having a politically organized LGBT community helps.)

    I ran into that issue with my employer after Windsor. We were entitled to a refund on the imputed tax going back to 2009. However, the IRS concluded that it would have been a burden for employers to retroactively compute this for every SSM employee, so they made it optional. Without some kind of official form from the employer, claiming a refund for the imputed tax could hold up your DOMA refund for years. We're only just now receiving ours – it's taken the IRS about 18 months to approve our refund request.

  • 10. Eric  |  September 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    The IRS took 49 weeks to process our 2011 amended return and 23 weeks to process the 2009 amended return.

  • 11. franklinsewell  |  September 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

    The State of Nevada also did this!

  • 12. F_Young  |  September 26, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Unrelated: EEOC files first transgender discrimination lawsuits

  • 13. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 26, 2014 at 10:27 am

    If one clicks the link to the fourth item above, you will see that Buzzfeed is reporting that the Federal government (through the EEOC) is suing (aka filing lawsuits against) two companies (filed in federal courts in Florida and Michigan) for transgender discrimination. The Federal government brought the suits under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    So how is your comment unrelated?

  • 14. F_Young  |  September 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Okay, it's redundant then.

  • 15. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    It may be redundant, but your link might provide some additional information, similar to the gay-bashing in Center City in Philly – each link I looked at had a bit of information that I didn't know, even though all the links were reporting on the same thing, a gay-bashing incident in Center City in Philly.

    For instance, one link was to an article that stated one of the arresstees was the daughter of a police chief. Another gave that same info, but also stated that the girl's grandfather was also a ranking police officer, but didn't mention the uncle of the arresstee (mentioned in the first link) who also was a police officer.

  • 16. franklinsewell  |  September 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Another "Suspensive Appeal" from Louisiana – This one, in effect, is asking the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana to stay Judge Rubin's order until the actual appeal is filed directly with the Louisiana Supreme Court.

  • 17. franklinsewell  |  September 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Off-Topic: Several of the Published Opinions from the 9th Circuit today were from cases argued and submitted on August 27, 2014.

  • 18. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm


    The Washington Blade (and I presume other sites) is reporting "U.N. Human Rights Council adopts LGBT resolution"
    (… )

    Not many surprises in the countries voting for or against the resolution from my observation.

  • 19. guitaristbl  |  September 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    "- Conservatives have formed a coalition to fight against pro-LGBT Republicans."

    I adore it ! I hope they become more vocal into fighting DeMaio, Tisei etc. They are going to alienate moderate republicans even more, cause more internal turmoil in a party that already has enough of that and for sure trigger some reaction from those candidates in case they lose, deepening the divide in GOP. The GOP of these days has to present two or three faces to win : a socially neutrual or even slightly liberal to the northeast and the west coast, a socially moderate without too harsh rhetoric but without endorsing anything pro-LGBT either (parts of midwest) and then their true face, socially fascist, pushing a religious agenda in civil law and vile rhetoric ( south – see Texas GOP and its platform). And these conflicts may win votes this time around but the conflicts among the elected will show when decisions are to be made I believe.
    Such an alliance against pro – LGBT republicans by the people who organize the Values voters summit currently ongoing in DC may prove very beneficial for the democrats in the midterms I believe. You can't win election by only having the support of Texas, Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama and Oklahoma. It takes more than that. And the majority of the GOP are yet to realise that.

    Cruz, Paul and Jindal are at VVS trying to ponder to the socially conservative base, teaming up with hate groups like AFA,FRC etc. They may not realize who they lose in the process.

  • 20. Dr. Z  |  September 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    It's not just on LGBT issues where the GOP has its head firmly wedged up its ass. It's minority issues across the board (e.g. immigration.) I'm no fan of Colin Powell after the role he played in DADT in 1993, but he was spot on the other day by saying that the GOP was going to have to come to grips with the fact that minorities would soon be the majority in this country.

  • 21. Zack12  |  September 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    They haven't come to grips with that yet and given the fact they are likely to win back control of the Senate, they won't change their tune unless they lose the 2016 election.

  • 22. law in pakistan  |  September 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Hello, the whole thing is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s truly good,
    keep up writing.

  • 23. brandall  |  September 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    As of the time I am reading the comments under this article, there are 13 comments. All of the root (base) comments lead with a statement of "unrelated" and "off-topic" …. each of your comments are about LGBTQ equality news articles and your viewpoints. These are NOT "unrelated" or "off-topic." This site started as a place to focus on Prop 8. Post DOMA, it evolved to national marriage equality which is our quest for June, 2015.

    The site is called "Equality on Trial" and not Marriage Equality on Trial. We will win marriage equality, but this forum will continue well beyond this stage as we deal with the legal battles concerning retroactive marriage rights and benefits, discrimination in housing or employment, being beaten up on the street, buying cakes and other discriminatory policies or actions.

    My request is for you to post all topics related to being treated fairly and equally without a caveat or apology. ME is very important, but it is not the end of our journey.

  • 24. Jen_in_MI  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Very well put! Winning ME is just the first step – all of the issues folks flagged above are just as important, and illustrate the need for this community to remain focused on the long game, which is complete social equality. Immigration, taxation, employment and housing protections, etc….these are all very important goals that our community needs to work towards after we win ME (and I believe we will do just that).

  • 25. ebohlman  |  September 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Winning ME will (mostly) mark the point at which we're no longer fighting de jure discrimination and shifting our focus to de facto discrimination (hey, my seventh-grade sociology class was actually useful for something; note that the trans community will still have some de jure issues to deal with, although the claims of some wannabe revolutionaries[1] that ME is irrelevant to the trans community are ridiculous). It's patently obvious that the fight for racial equality didn't end with Loving.

    [1] By and large, those who can't distinguish between "has a roof over his/her head and knows where his/her next meal is coming from" and "spoiled 1%er brat".

  • 26. Sagesse  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I fully agree.

    Back in the early days of EOT, the etiquette was to flag LGBT news in a comment on the most recent post, since that's the one people are following at the moment. DADT, pre and during repeal, was a popular topic. For a while, there was Quick Hits, which was supposed to keep 'news' from being lost in the comments. And nothing related to LGBT equality was considered OT on this site. Somewhat OT would be things like the Hobby Lobby decision on religious rights, or voter suppression laws, which are intended ultimately to keep legislators who support equality (among other worthwhile things) from being elected.

    I continue to post in the comments on that basis, because it makes sense.

  • 27. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

    On most other sites, the rule of the site is that the discussion/comments are about the topic/article under which they appear. If the topic/article is about one subject, and the person wants to introduce another subject to the conversation, they START their comment with 'off topic', etc.

    Many times, people are so in a hurry to comment, they don't carefully read the topic/article people are discussing, and state 'off topic', etc. It should be the responsibility of other commenters to point out why it is not 'off topic' if it is not 'off topic'. Or conversely, they are operating under rules most other sites wouldn't observe, and think that anything they say is on topic, whether it is or not.

    And yes, the purpose of the SITE is to discuss all aspects of ME, but individual topics/articles can fall under that large umbrella. It's somewhat like when discussing Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the Soviet Union in WW II), discussion of the Desert Fox and the North African campaign are apt for the full discussion of WW II, but is off topic to a discussion of Operation Barbarossa.

    And when people place a 'off topic' caveat, they are NOT always apologizing. The commenters are usually doing so because they don't have any other string of comments they can see where what they feel is an important subject can be placed where people will notice the important news/information.

    What's next? A prohibition of the discussion of bad news, or news that could amount to a Pyrrhic victory for one side or the other?

  • 28. ragefirewolf  |  September 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Mike, I think you perceived the wrong tone from Brandall's comment. It was a positive well-intentioned request – a relief message – to those who might think they need to excuse themselves for bringing up so-called "off-topic" comments when it is clearly about equality or related areas of interest. We want people to be interested and discuss varying subjects. In no way is it a prohibition or a scolding. I suggest you re-read it with that in mind. :o)

  • 29. ragefirewolf  |  September 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hi, Brandall!! Yay, you're back! 😀

  • 30. brandall  |  September 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Yup, sorry for the unannounced absence. I had been taking a 6 break from work through September and then went back to work the day after the 9th AC hearings. I have less time now, but will try to read and comment as much as I can.

  • 31. ragefirewolf  |  September 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Oh, yeah? What's a "6 break"? Is that military talk for sitting on your butt and relaxing? Hehehe :oP

  • 32. RnL2008  |  September 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Nice to see your post and hope all has been well with you and yours!!!


  • 33. brandall  |  September 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Everything is excellent. I spent 2 weeks in NYC researching ancestors (my other passion besides LGBTQ rights). Sorry for the unannounced disappearance. See above.

  • 34. RnL2008  |  September 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Cool, I have a friend who traced my ancestors back to Austria and the Ukraine. I even have the ships manifest on what ship my grandfather and great-grandmother traveled on when they arrived at Ellis Island……….it was an experience to know where my maiden name came from!!!

    Glad you're back and yes, you were obviously missed:-)

  • 35. ragefirewolf  |  September 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    See? Rose missed you too :o)

  • 36. RnL2008  |  September 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    That I did……..hope all is well with you and yours:-)

  • 37. ragefirewolf  |  September 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you, Rose! I am alright – been pretty sick the past couple of days, but I am getting better. My fiance is doing well himself. 🙂 I hope the same for you and your wife!

  • 38. RnL2008  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    We are…….spent the day getting ready for our GS meeting tomorrow:-)

    We have a couple of new girls interested in joining GS and we are getting ready for nut sales starting in a week or so!!!


  • 39. Dr. Z  |  September 26, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    NOM is back again in Oregon, claiming that the AG's office improperly colluded with the plaintiffs in the SSM lawsuit and requesting en banc reconsideration at the Ninth Circuit on their motion to be allowed to intervene in the lawsuit that established ME in Oregon. Their claims have as much validity as you'd expect from NOM.

  • 40. RnL2008  |  September 27, 2014 at 12:23 am

    NOM has a snowballs chance in hell of being allowed to intervene at this point in time…….I mean they have already lost this fight, but CAN'T seem to figure that out, sort of like the County Clerk in Pennsylvanian……..these folks need some sort of intervention like Electric Shock Therapy…..stupid should hurt!!!

  • 41. guitaristbl  |  September 27, 2014 at 6:09 am

    NOM,the clerk in Penn and those behind her etc just simply can't get that a no means NO. They have to hear it multiple times to get it. Their appeal is untimely and leads nowhere as of Perry as they cannot appeal to SCOTUS anyway even if they did intervene on time. Brown just has to keep the money rolling.

  • 42. Jen_in_MI  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner!! Brian Brown has a litter of kids to support, and should the NOM cash spigot dry up, there are precious few orgs that would hire someone with his incredible losing track record – he is desperate to remain "relevant."

  • 43. F_Young  |  September 27, 2014 at 5:33 am

    State of Alaska Defends Gay-Marriage Ban

  • 44. guitaristbl  |  September 27, 2014 at 6:15 am

    The filing is same old, same old. "The court must respect the democratic process,there is no right to same sex marriage etc etc". I would say even weaker than in most cases. Anyway it is futile imo. It is possible that even by the time the oral hearing takes place the 9th will have handed down the decisions in Latta and Sevcik and the judge on this case would be bound by the decision of a higher court that has juristiction over him. Not that otherwise with the arguments Alaska puts forward there was much of a chance to prevail and defend the ban succesfully.

  • 45. ebohlman  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Note the reference in the comments to Lucas, an early 1960s case involving Colorado's apportionment scheme for its state Senate, where the SCOTUS ruled that the mere fact that the scheme was voter-approved didn't exempt it from equal protection analysis.

  • 46. JayJonson  |  September 27, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Departing Attorney General Holder confirmed reports that the Department of Justice will file a brief with the Supreme Court urging it to rule quickly on marriage equality. "From my perspective, it is the civil-rights issue of our day — gay and lesbian equality," he said.

  • 47. JayJonson  |  September 27, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Maggie Gallagher likes the Pew Research poll discussed here in a couple of other threads. Here is her take on it:

  • 48. Jen_in_MI  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:14 am

    With respect, she rolled over and gave up the fight when she left NOM. Who gives a damn what she has to say on a flawed poll? She is irrelevant IMO.

  • 49. JayJonson  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I don't care what Maggie Gallagher says about anything, or at least any more than I care about what Brian Brown has to say about anything re (with respect) your comment above; but the fact that she is exulting over this poll indicates that it is a dangerous poll that we all need to be concerned about and need to call out as biased.

  • 50. guitaristbl  |  September 27, 2014 at 10:51 am

    We are talking about the people who dismiss every poll as "inaccurate" and biased when it does not fit their agenda and take this one poll in many years, baptize it credible and prance around its results as some kind of absolute truth ? These people have as much credibility as a child abusing priest condemning LGBT people really. The poll is not dangerous, just irrelevant. The people who use it to make a point for their case only further degrade its credibility, given their own previous statements and record.

  • 51. JayJonson  |  September 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    The question is not whether Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown have any credibility (they do not), but whether Pew Research has any credibility. They do not either.

  • 52. guitaristbl  |  September 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Does it matter ? As it has already been stated, this result needs to be seen in a variety of polls anyway to gain any statistical credibility. It's like gallup predicting a 7 point lead for Romney in the 2012 elections in one of the last polls due to a non balanced sample. Pew may have made an honest mistake. Does it hurt their credibility ? probably, if other polls come around at this time saying the opposite. But I don't think it was intentional or that it is going to continue in Pew polls as a trend either.

  • 53. guitaristbl  |  September 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Maggie is rolling and twisting and having the time of her life trying to convince us that the results of this poll have something to do with the Robertson nonsense or the mozilla thing. Could only work on readers of national review of course, where basic rationality is blinded by bigotry and too much religious brainwashing.

  • 54. Dr. Z  |  September 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Unless and until the findings from that poll are replicated by other pollsters, it's not worth much on its own..

  • 55. Sagesse  |  September 27, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Utah. Blecch.

    In Utah’s same-sex marriage debate, should the children be off limits? [Salt Lake Tribune]

    Last week someone recommended an excellent academic paper by Tobias Barrington Wolff (I downloaded the paper, and in so doing lost the link) where he referred to

    "…the distinctive mode of subordination often embodied in laws that are hostile towards gay people. Anti-gay policies regularly proceed on the assumption that, if the state simply refuses to acknowledge the existence of gay people and their relationships, those people and their relationships will actually cease to be."

    Mary Summerhays and Celebration of Marriage were just elaborating on the point. Substitute the word 'families' for the word 'relationships', and you have the message… 'Dare to step out of the closet and into the light where we have to see you, and you're fair game.' Revolting.

  • 56. Samiscat1  |  September 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Here's the Wolff citation:

    Wolff, Tobias Barrington. "Current Debates In The Conflict Of Laws: Recognition And Enforcement Of Same-Sex Marriage: Interest Analysis In Interjurisdictional Marriage Disputes." University Of Pennsylvania Law Review 153.(2005): 2215. LexisNexis Academic: Law Reviews. Web. 27 Sept. 2014.

  • 57. Sagesse  |  September 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Found the link. A superb article.

  • 58. Waxr  |  September 27, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Off topic – If we are going to talk about Maggie Gallagher, how about Michele Bachmann who is now saying Gay Marriage Is "Not An Issue," and is "Boring,"

  • 59. guitaristbl  |  September 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Yes we all remember what a "non issue" it was after the DOMA decision when she was foaming and shrieking during the GOP press conference on the issue. Gosh in other countries people like Bachmann would be in a mental institution, not in the congress !

  • 60. josejoram  |  September 27, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I need any help available here: my husband has a property in Florida and we live in Spain. Can I be a witness for him before the American Consulate in the selling of the property? Thank you very much to anyone ready to orienting me.

  • 61. RemC_in_Chicago  |  September 28, 2014 at 7:26 am

    How lucky that you live in Spain. Have you asked the American Consulate directly what the rules are? If you're not married in Spain, and don't have your name on the deed, common sense would tell you that you be a witness…But common sense doesn't always prevail, does it?

  • 62. josejoram  |  September 28, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I will try the Consulate tomorrow. The problem is that there is only the answering machine.none staff responding inqueries. Thanks a lot.

  • 63. RnL2008  |  September 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Here's an article that is old, but it can answer some questions regarding one's right to marry and the reason some have issue:

  • 64. Sagesse  |  September 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    NOM at the Value Voters Summit. Denial is a river in Egypt.

    Panelists Seek To Unskew Polls Showing Support For Gay Marriage [TPM]

  • 65. RQO  |  September 28, 2014 at 5:17 am

    Regarding the Pew Poll, I question it. Colorado has had some very incorrect political polling the past two or more election cycles. We have learned to wait for the next reputable poll for confirmation, and even then the "real" numbers at the election can be off by a decisive margin.That said, I point out that the poll numbers for ME have gone into reverse before, at the time G.W. Bush was up for re-election and used gay bashing as a wedge issue.

    We all hear the problems poll firms have with reaching "enough" people with no land telephone numbers (now estimated at about 35% here). What I didn't know, until I recently heard an interview with a representative of Nate Silver's 536 organization, is that polling firms arbitrarily "weight" demographic group members' responses in their results. For example, if the poll reaches people only 10% of whom self-identify as Hispanic, and they know the voting electorate is 20% Hispanic, the pollster USES HIS INFORMED JUDGEMENT (art, not science) to skew his own final, published, results.

    Needless to say, the polling firms do not publish what judgement calls they have made. My own opinion is I take a dim view of any poll with a sample size of fewer than 1700 or 1900 responses (where the standard deviation starts to go down), and even then, it's best to do what Nate Silver does – average multiple polls. Then, perhaps, you get close.

  • 66. Sagesse  |  September 28, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I trust Nate Sliver because his meta-analysis of polls is useful, i.e. it is predictive. Full disclosure: I do not completely read and absorb his methodology explanations… there are limits to my geekiness. For those who are into this kind of thing, tho, it should add to the discussion.

    How FiveThirtyEight Calculates Pollster Ratings [FiveThirtyEight Politics]

  • 67. Sagesse  |  September 28, 2014 at 7:04 am

    On the subject of NOM polling and the Pew Poll:

    NOM has in the past commissioned or referred to outlier polls that… surprise… indicate low support for marriage equality. They have used a polling firm with a strong connection to Catholic advocacy groups (can't recall the name). Presumably Frank Schubert was involved in the design/promotion of those polls, since he has been running their 'messaging' efforts since Prop 8.

    Pew is a recognized (respected) (reputable?) polling firm with an interest/emphasis/bias on religious issues. I can't believe I'm saying this next bit… sounds like conspiracy theory 101… but the Pew Poll was released just before the Value Voters Summit and the Gathering, both of which are being held this weekend (and are annual events held around this time every year). Kinda like the Regnerus study was released in time for the Supreme Court hearings on DOMA and Prop 8. I really don't mean to imply that the Pew organization could be manipulated this way… but aren't there religions that don't believe in coincidence.

  • 68. JayJonson  |  September 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Precisely. As I suggested the other day, the Pew poll is "manufactured" in the same way Regnerus's junk science was "manufactured" to please its funders.

  • 69. guitaristbl  |  September 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    That's an interesting theory and indeed a remarkable coincidence. It remains to be seen if future Pew polls reproduce this result.

  • 70. JayJonson  |  September 29, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Previous Pew polls have done the same thing. They consistently release polls that say the momentum in favor of same-sex marriage has stalled.

  • 71. ragefirewolf  |  September 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    <begin rant>

    I feel I have to say this, because this Pew poll has gotten a lot of attention from us in general on this page, and this is only my opinion, albeit a *hopefully* educated one, and you are all free to disagree:

    Screw the polls.

    Why? Because this has never been about the American majority, whose tyranny we've been fighting since day one, and their opinion of us and our relationships. Yes, it's nice for us to finally and recently start to be socially recognized by strong majority of Americans as being just as human as they are – but it's also irrelevant. We don't need their approval, we've never needed it. What we need is for the United States Constitution to be respected in this arena by the Supreme Court ASAP and for us to finally have the legal, not social, recognition. Yes, shifts in attitudes helped us get this far as unprecedentedly quickly as we have, for which I am genuinely grateful, and they will continue to shift positively, but we are too close to this particular endgame to worry about a single errant poll. So let's stop already, gods.

    <end rant>

  • 72. RnL2008  |  September 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm


  • 73. JayJonson  |  September 29, 2014 at 9:02 am

    This is absurd. Do you really think we would be on the verge of marriage equality if we had not won the approval of a large fraction of the American electorate? Do you really think President Obama would have endorsed marriage equality if he did not think it was safe for him to do so? Do you really think the Supreme Court would have ruled the way it did in Lawrence and Windsor if it did not think those rulings would be accepted by the American people?

    We are at this point because our political organizations over a long period and at a very high cost in terms of dollars and sweat have successfully made the case for equal rights. We are at this point because millions of us have come out and in doing so given the lie to the claims that we are unworthy of equal rights. We are at this point because we have won the approval of a large part of the American people.

    Believe me, we do need the acceptance and approval of our fellow citizens. Equal rights will never be attained in this country otherwise and it is arrogant to think that the opinion of others does not matter.

  • 74. ragefirewolf  |  September 29, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    It is hardly absurd and you obviously didn't read my last paragraph fully.

    Civil rights for minorities have never been predicated on majority approval and many of our gains in the courts pre-Windsor came at times when we didn't have majority support for our rights. In fact, our most cited ruling in support of our fight for equality, Loving v.Virginia, came at a time when interracial marriage was highly unpopular and only found majority support in the 90s, twenty years later.

    The most dramatic changes in attitudes have happened mostly because of our legal victories. They haven't caused them. They have catalyzed our most recent gains, yes, but we have only our own efforts to credit for that.

    My point was that a single poll changes nothing for us here. Not one iota, which is no where near absurdity. Your hyperbole does you no credit, Jay.

  • 75. JayJonson  |  September 30, 2014 at 6:56 am

    I read your post very carefully. It says in boldface "Screw the Polls." It declares emphatically that we don't need the approval of the American majority and have never needed it. And you accuse me of hyperbole!

    Your rant was about trying to shut down discussion of the Pew poll. I don't think that is helpful. I also think you are simply wrong when you say above that "The most dramatic changes in attitudes have happened mostly because of our legal victories. They haven't caused them." Legal victories do not happen in a vacuum. They come as a result of organizing, fundraising, coalition-building, and changing hears and minds.

  • 76. ragefirewolf  |  September 30, 2014 at 7:50 am

    It was a rant. It wasn't meant to be anything other than a rant. You made it out to be more and I am just responding to your criticism. Hence my comment about thinking critically of my very specific context, which you have ignored repeatedly. Yes, you are being hyperbolic, because again you have made more of what I said than is actually there.

    Calm down.

  • 77. JayJonson  |  September 30, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Let me get this straight. When you rant, you are not supposed to be taken seriously? When you write "Screw the polls," you aren't being hyperbolic, just ranting? When you write that we don't need the approval of others, you don't really mean it? I see. I am supposed to take a course in critical theory in order to parse what you really mean when you say these things?

    It might be easier if you thought more about what you write than about how others read it. You might also look up "hyperbole" in a good dictionary. That word more accurately describes your rant than it does my response to it.

    In any case, I am glad to know that you don't really mean that we should disregard public opinion. Now that you have explained yourself more fully, we probably don't even disagree very much.

  • 78. ragefirewolf  |  September 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

    No, we don't actually disagree that much. For the future, my rants aren't required to make total sense to you our anyone else. Hell, Rose understood that one. So much for a course in critical theory.

    And for the record, I ain't even mad…old man 😉

  • 79. JayJonson  |  September 30, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I'm not mad either. I just think your comments in your rant are boneheaded, as I explained.

    I also find it curious that above when Mike seems to have misinterpreted brandall's comment inviting people to discuss gay issues without apologizing that they may be off topic, you wrote: "We want people to be interested and discuss varying subjects. In no way is it a prohibition or a scolding. I suggest you re-read it with that in mind. :o)"

    And yet your rant was prompted by an attempt to shut down discussion of the Pew poll. You might consider ignoring topics that you aren't interested in, rather than attempting to shut down discussion by ranting about them. Just a suggestion.

  • 80. ragefirewolf  |  September 30, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I suggest you stop making wild assumptions about my intentions instead of simply asking what they are in a non-confrontational manner. I also highly suggest you refrain from making suggestions in the form of a lecture.

    I wasn't shutting down debate, it was a rant. Again, you apparently don't understand what a rant is. If I wanted to shut down debate, I wouldn't be bothering to engage you on this.

    You could've left my last post as it was, you know. I can go all day like this.

  • 81. JayJonson  |  September 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

    So again, your words don't really mean what they say because they are a rant?

    You begin by saying "I feel I have to say this, because this Pew poll has gotten a lot of attention from us in general on this page, and this is only my opinion, albeit a *hopefully* educated one, and you are all free to disagree." and you end by saying "So let's stop already, gods."

    I can go on like this all day as well, but I'm not going to. I actually have a life.

  • 82. ragefirewolf  |  September 30, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Feel free to discontinue and go back to your life. I will let this go if you will, sir. I have no wish to have any animosity with you.

  • 83. JayJonson  |  September 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    One final note: I have no wish to have any animosity with you either. I have often appreciated your comments and I expect to do so in the future. We are all on the same side here. Our disagreements should never be personal.

  • 84. ragefirewolf  |  September 30, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Agreed, Jay. The same goes for me. I do apologize if I did in fact hurt you with my words.

  • 85. RnL2008  |  September 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Try and remember folks that ANY poll taken use a specific set of questions using most likely a Likter scale and there can be no room for other responses. This is a pretty standard questionnaire that are easy to analyze.

    The other factor is that most polls usually have less than a 1000 participants…..which is NOT a lot of folks and therefore should ONLY be given so much credibility.

    Most folks are tired of being asked questions regarding the right to marry for Gays and Lesbians…….and probably know that this issue will be won in our favor.

    Let's try and remain focused on the task at hand…which right now is waiting for a ruling by the 6th and 9th Circuit Appeals Courts!

  • 86. JayJonson  |  September 29, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Polls are important and reliable polls are especially important. They are important because the Supreme Court reads polls. They are important because legislators read polls. They are important because we need to know what our fellow citizens are thinking.

    The quest for equal rights is a legal quest, but it is not only that. It is also a quest for broad acceptance of our rights throughout the country. That quest will continue long after we win a legal right to marry, especially in the red states that will continue to oppose our rights. And we, after all, are quick to point to the shift in acceptance and support by citing polls. Hence, it is crucial that we make certain that polls and polling companies are held to high standards and call out the ones that are biased, whether deliberately or inadvertently.

    Freedom to Marry has just released a poll they commissioned that shows a plurality of Utahns support same-sex marriage. I have no idea whether it is reliable or not, but if it is flawed, it is flawed in exactly the same way the Pew Research poll is flawed: it produces results tailored to the funder.

    Here is a link to the Utah poll:

  • 87. ragefirewolf  |  September 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    You completely missed my point if you think I meant social acceptance is unimportant. You would know that if you considered the context of my comment and thought critically about it, but you didn't.

    My comment is aimed directly at the notion that civil rights are earned. They aren't. They are inherent to being treated as a human being. The fact that more people are waking up to that is a good thing, an appreciated thing, and an important thing, but in this very specific context, irrelevant – especially considering we are nearing our finish line with a strong holding. We need to calm down about the polls.

  • 88. JayJonson  |  September 30, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I am sure it will give comfort to the lgbt people (and members of other stigmatized groups, such as African Americans) who have been imprisoned, brutalized, humiliated, and otherwise denied equal rights in this country over the years to learn in the grave that they actually had civil rights all along.

    If my husband and I had only known that our civil rights were inherent in our being human, we would have gotten married thirty years before we did.

    In theory, we are all born with inalienable rights. In practice, however, we secure our rights by fighting for them and by convincing others that we are entitled to them.

  • 89. josejoram  |  September 29, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Anybody doing follow up of SCOTUS today?

  • 90. brooklyn11217  |  September 29, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I believe any orders from the conference are not issued until tomorrow, unless someone like SCOTUSblog gets an inside tip. I am predicting that all the marriage cases will be relisted, although hoping for denial of cert, which would bring marriage equality to more states sooner.

  • 91. brooklyn11217  |  September 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Today's post on the home page, along with DaveM's comment below, provide more details:

  • 92. josejoram  |  September 29, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Thanks brooklin11217.

  • 93. Pat_V  |  September 29, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I have a question regarding possible timeline.
    Assuming that, either this week or in the following weeks, SCOTUS denies cert on all the cases in the 4th, 7th and 10th circuit currently being considered. What happens next?
    I know that, ultimately, the end result will be to bring ME to 11 new states, but what will be the process for this to happen? I understand that it won't be "automatic", but I wonder how much more litigation or paperwork and delays it will take.
    Can we at least assume that the 5 states which have cases under consideration (UT, OK, WI, IN, VA) would get equality in a matter of days? what about the other 6 states in these circuits which didn't have an appeals court ruling (WV, SC, NC, WY, CO, KS)? (since Colorado already has a pretty advanced case, I assume it would be over fairly quickly, but shall we still expect it to take several more months for other states?)

  • 94. DaveM_OH  |  September 29, 2014 at 8:23 am

    If certiorari is denied:
    1. The respective Court of Appeals mandate is immediately issued. (FRAP 41(d)(2)(D)).
    This has the effect of finalizing the judgment in any case that the Appellate court considered – e.g. Bostic, Kitchen, Bishop, Wolf, Baskin, etc.
    The Order from the appellate court goes into immediate effect, which forces state officials to recognize the rights of the plaintiff couples, and enjoins (halts) enforcement of the relevant laws. This will happen ~immediately.

    2. The Federal District courts in other states that have pending litigation that are within that circuit, e.g. NC, would entertain a motion by the plaintiffs for summary judgment to decide the merits of their case in line with the Court of Appeals' determination. The judge would take that under advisement, accept a counter-motion from the states, and within weeks decide that the merits are identical to the Court of Appeals' decision and enjoin the state from enforcing the bans on equal marriage.

    3. Litigation pending in a State court within that Federal Circuit would not be directly affected, however the plaintiffs would ask the court to recognize the persuasive authority of the Court of Appeals. Similar motions to (2) would ensue, though the judge would have more liberty to ignore the CoA's precedent.

    4. Litigation pending in other circuits, either at the State or Federal level would be unaffected, save the persuasive authority of the various CoA decisions. Thus, even after a denial of cert, the 5CA, 6CA, 8CA, or 11CA would still be free to find against equality. This would set up a "circuit split", provoking a SCOTUS grant.

  • 95. Pat_V  |  September 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the detailed reply!

  • 96. KahuBill  |  September 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Sorry, but things speed by me and then I can't relocate them. A few days ago someone gave a citation to a recent artoicle or law review note dealing with "animus" as a legal construct and its place in judicial decisions. Does anyone have that citation? Mahalo.

  • 97. ragefirewolf  |  October 1, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Here ya go:

  • 98. Equality On TrialBREAKING&hellip  |  October 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    […] in the case were heard late last […]

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