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Equality news round-up: Study on LGBT poverty, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– A new study found significantly higher rates of poverty in the LGBT community.

– Another new report details LGBT organizing resources in the south.

– The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to stay its decision upholding New Jersey’s ban of so-called LGBT ‘conversion’ therapy.

– The court hearing Chelsea Manning’s lawsuit over heath care access has issued a briefing schedule.

– NOM is alleging some sort of conspiracy in the Oregon marriage equality litigation. They filed a declaration detailing their theory, and they’ve uploaded thousands of pages of documents they obtained from a public records request.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. ebohlman  |  October 1, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Slate has an interesting article arguing that courts should consider the legal theory that marriage bans are unconstitutional because they punish children for the actions of adults.

  • 2. DoctorHeimlich  |  October 1, 2014 at 8:52 am

    It's an interesting article, and there's no denying that "won't someone think of the children?!" impacted Kennedy's thinking in Windsor and Posner's thinking in the Indiana/Wisconsin cases. However, I think that wholly embracing the argument the article suggests is ceding too much ground. That argument basically agrees with the opposition, that the primary purpose of marriage is child-rearing. Not only is that very debatable, but it's basically suggesting that LGBTs don't themselves deserve equal rights, only their children do. That's not a precedent that helps us as much for future fights — battling discrimination in employment, housing, and more.

    What's more, it seems to me some of the plaintiffs in these cases couldn't even make that argument if they wanted to. Kris Perry and her now-wife were raising children before the Prop 8 case, but Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, for example, have no children.

    If we'd tried other arguments and not found traction, then I'd say sure, let's focus on this new strategy. Fortunately, our excellent advocates have found almost universal success.

  • 3. JayJonson  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Thanks for bringing attention to the Slate article. It is very interesting and articulates a legal theory that reflects a position that Justice Kennedy seems to have reached independently in Windsor. I note that the precedents cited here all involve attempts to disadvantage children born out of wedlock. Perhaps it is worth observing that "illegitmacy" now constitutes a protected class, or at least laws that target "illegitimate" persons are entitled to at least an intermediate level of scrutiny.

  • 4. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Is this the same 'Slate' article mentioned and linked at… , posted on September 30, 2014, or is this a different article?

  • 5. ebohlman  |  October 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Yes to the former.

  • 6. NetAmigo  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Actually the point that marriage discrimination laws harm children in an effort to punish parents has been made in various cases. I have read it from time to time in some of the briefs.

  • 7. Ragavendran  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    If my memory serves me right, a Texas trial court judge, a few months ago, in a divorce case, used this argument (or similar).

  • 8. Dr. Z  |  October 2, 2014 at 5:52 am

    This argument was advanced in one of the Texas cases. While it's a legitimate line of reasoning, it was a factor there because it was a divorce/child custody case that would have materially harmed the child. I'd say this is one additional argument that ME should be legal in all states; but it's not the overriding argument as the authors at Slate would seem to have it be.

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Poor NOM and Brian Brown trying to stay relevant…Now they go on with conspiracy theories…I believe the 9th will have none of it, neither will SCOTUS. I bet funding has dropped significantly the last few years for NOM and in order to convince its donors this is not a lost fight it acts desperately I am afraid. Hilarious though.

  • 10. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Maybe NOM thinks the conspiracists who believe FDR knew of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ahead of time, and those who believed the moon landing was done on a Hollywood set, and the 'grassy knoll' conspiracists know something everyone else does not know, etc., all have deep pockets, and believe as NOM believes about ME, and therefore NOM will latch onto a new set of donors.

    Good luck NOM, as almost all of the above do NOT have deep pockets, and at least 1/2 probably think ME should be the law of the land (Rosie O'Donnell, for example).

    NOM's best hope is probably to blame it all on President Obama. And even then, it probably won't work, as people (IMO) are beginning to see that the blaming EVERYTHING on President Obama is mostly a racist thing, and political (the GOTP blames things on him, but instead of offering possible solutions, the only thing they know seems to be blame, blame, blame).

    Besides, most of the GOTP already supports, at least in thought, NOM.

  • 11. tornado163  |  October 1, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I made it to paragraph 2 before I found a mistake – using discreet instead of discrete. Kind of pedantic, but these briefs should be proofread and it sets a bad tone when there's a mistake on the 2nd page.

  • 12. debater7474  |  October 1, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I don't really see NOM's point. Even if there somehow was collusion between the plantiff's attorney and the attorney general's office, it wouldn't haved changed the judgment of the gay district court judge even if he was given "both sides" of the argument. Furthermore, NOM has no standing to appeal an unfavorable district court ruling.

  • 13. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Off Topic to this discussion (and yes, I know Brandall THINKS [aka has an opinion] that nothing need be labeled):

    ". . . Mich. Democrat's Epic Response to Antigay Group's 'Pile of Excrement' "
    (… )

    (Because this discussion is NOT directly about the subject matter of the Advocate article, even though this site is about it in general, the article is off-topic to the current discussion.)

  • 14. Jen_in_MI  |  October 1, 2014 at 10:50 am

    The best part is the Dem candidate in question is running for a district in the middle of MI (nowhere close to the "more liberal" districts around and outside of Detroit and Ann Arbor). Folks in that district are, I think, unfamiliar with having a candidate articulate such a strong and unwavering vision for LGBT civil rights. I really hope he wins!

  • 15. Retired_Lawyer  |  October 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

    NOM's Declaration is what used to be called an Attorney's Affidavit, and, as such, purports to be an evidentiary offering. Even if NOM was a party to the case–which it is not–it would still be out of order to attempt to offer evidence to an appellate court. The cases cited by NOM's lawyers, including John Eastman, do not support NOM's position. NOM's allegation that there was not a sufficient adversary proceeding below was raised before Judge McShane when NOM tried to intervene; the argument does not bear on the "integrity" of the process; neither is it new. Moreover, the emails do not demonstrate collusion or deception.; rather, they show the usual pretrial discussions among counsel to find common ground and narrow issues, which is exactly what they are expected to do under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. NOM is desperate, for sure.

  • 16. Dr. Z  |  October 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    No doubt, NOM considers any communication between the plaintiffs and the Oregon AG to be "collusion."

    What are the consequences for Eastman if he makes a wildly unfounded accusation like this and misses? Could he potentially be censured?

  • 17. Retired_Lawyer  |  October 2, 2014 at 5:54 am

    All courts have the power to impose sanctions on the lawyers who practice before them for dishonest or disruptive behavior, but, in all likelihood, the Ninth Circuit will give John Eastman's hyperbolic contentions the treatment they deserve by ignoring them, and denying his motion for a rehearing en banc.

  • 18. sfbob  |  October 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    "… the usual pretrial discussions among counsel to find common ground and narrow issues…" But of course NOM tries to spin this into some sort of "conspiracy." Which is about typical for them. It is about equivalent of accusing someone of being a philatelist. Sounds nasty; means they collect postage stamps.

  • 19. SethInMaryland  |  October 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Listen to this BS coming coming a Texas supreme court justice, this judge should removed from soon as possible

  • 20. guitaristbl  |  October 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Yeap that sounds like a texas supreme court justice indeed ! And to think they have a same sex divorce case before them..

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg with this theocrat on bench. From wikipedia :

    "In 2004, Devine was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for refusing to take down a painting of the Bible in his Harris County courtroom. A federal district court ordered the Bible's removal. Upon appeal, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's ruling, and ordered the image's permanent removal."

    When you have even the 5th against you on matters of religious display, we can understand what far right religious extremism we face here.

    In a normal country this man would be kept as far away from ANY bench (let alone supreme court !) as possible..But it's USA and it's Texas..

  • 21. RnL2008  |  October 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    If you think that Judge is nuts… should read the Constitutional Party's Platform……these folks are nuttier than the Tea Party:

    Here's the beginning of their view of the family:
    No civil government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations, as affirmed by the 10th amendment, delegating to the people as our founders understood the family as necessary to the general welfare.

    We affirm the importance of Biblical scripture in the founders’ intent as eloquently stated by Noah Webster:

    “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitution and laws… All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts in the Bible.”

    The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has instituted. We are opposed to any judicial ruling or amending the U.S. Constitution or any state constitution re-defining marriage with any definition other than the Biblical standard.

    We call for an end to all taxation and economic formulas that discourage marriage, incentivize co-habitation and child bearing outside of marriage or authorize or provide government funding for policies and programs that further erode the jurisdiction of the family or parental rights.

    We reject the notion that homosexuals, transgenders or those who are sexually deviant are deserving of legal favor or special protection, and affirm the rights of states and localities to proscribe offensive sexual behavior. We oppose all efforts to impose a new sexual legal order through any courts or legislatures. We stand against so-called “sexual orientation” and “hate crime” statutes that attempt to legitimize inappropriate sexual behavior or stifle public opposition to its expression. We oppose government funding of “partner” benefits for unmarried individuals. Finally, we oppose any legal recognition of homosexual or civil unions.

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