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Equality news round-up: NOM getting involved in Senate races, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– Former President Jimmy Carter, who has been known as an LGBT ally, now says marriage should be left up to each state.

– The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is spending lots of money on Senate races.

– Missouri’s state treasurer has issued a press release on the state’s decision to recognize same-sex marriages for spousal benefits.

– A new lawsuit filed in federal court in South Carolina challenges the policy of refusing to issue drivers’ licenses to people in same-sex marriages, using their married names.

– A hearing in the Kansas marriage case will take place on Friday.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Hmm, I honestly don't care what President Carter says…it doesn't change anything and he could've very well been quoted wrong or out of context.

  • 2. R_A_J  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

    "could've very well been quoted wrong or out of context."

    I don't think he was quoted out of context. From the video clip he clearly says, States (in this case, Texas) should have a right to decide. I was with him regarding religious organizations and their right to refuse to marry same-sex couples, but when he offered his opinion on the state's rights issue, I was very disappointed in him.

  • 3. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Ah, my mistake.

    I still don't care what former President Carter thinks. It's about as relevant as what Bush 1 & 2 think. I'd be more concerned if President Clinton changed his mind like that because his wife might end up in the White House and his words carry a lot more weight that way.

  • 4. MJ4  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

    He clearly should have kept his mouth shut. I honestly don't believe he feels that way, but he's campaigning for his son, who is running for governor of Georgia. Georgia is slightly ahead of Mississippi and Alabama, but not by much. If he gets his son elected, I can live with it, as long as he "evolves" after next Tuesday's election.

  • 5. JayJonson  |  October 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I think you're right that he was thinking of the political impact of what he said re Georgia. It is his GRANDson who is running for Governor, not his son.

  • 6. TonyMinasTirith  |  October 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    His church leaders got to him. I beleive he's southern baptist. The only other people who hate The GLBT community more than the Southern baptists are the westboro baptists. Apparently it's the baptist way or NO way. They don't like anybody that doesn't beleive as they demand.

  • 7. Steve84  |  October 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Baptist. He left the Southern Baptists over their rampant misogyny.

  • 8. Terence  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    In fact, this IS being decided by the states. It's just that it's the state courts, not the state legislatures, doing the deciding.

  • 9. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Not really. Although there have been a few state court decisions…almost all of our victories have been in federal court.

  • 10. StraightDave  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Here's my informal count from memory:
    State court (6): MA, CT, NJ, IA, NM, CA
    Fed court (15): PA, VA,WV,NC,WI,IN, OK,AZ,CO,WY,NV,OR,ID,AK,UT.
    Voters/Legis (11): ME,NH,VT,RI,NY,DE,MD,IL,MN,WA,HI.

    So federal court is still an overall minority.

  • 11. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I of course was speaking in terms of court decisions, Dave, but you are most correct. Thank you for the tally. 🙂

  • 12. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    And yet, were there any Fed courts ruling in our favor from before Windsor? Maybe in CA, but you've lumped CA in with 'state courts'. The PropH8 case that went to SCOTUS was not from the CA Supreme Court, but was a Federal Court case from the 9th Circuit.

    And most state court and voter/legislative victories were pre-Windsor.

    The demarcation, IMO, should be pre- and post-Windsor. Let's face it, the 'easy, low-hanging fruit' was picked off early – in state courts, by the voters and/or state legislators – and that was mostly prior to Windsor.

  • 13. SeattleRobin  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    California was decided in the state court and people were able to marry for several months based on that decision. When the state constitution was changed then it went to federal court, because the amendment removed it from state court hands.

  • 14. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    But, and as I previously stated, CA was included in the state totals by StraightDave, but then, as you stated, the case was sent to Federal courts after the 2008 general election. So is it a state or Federal court victory? Maybe both?

    In my opinion, a victory is long term (several years minimum), otherwise it can't be counted as a victory. I don't always count it as a defeat, but definitely not a victory.

    And then there is the HI decision – in 1991, it was a state court decision, but it was not until the legislature voted in late 2013 for ME to actually happen in the state. Is it a state court decision, or a legislative/voter victory? Legitimate (IMO) arguments can be made for either/both.

    That is why I consider the Windsor decision a much better demarcation line than other possible demarcation lines.

  • 15. guitaristbl  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

    What Carter thinks is irrelevant. It was his appointee that upheld the ban on such hostile and silly grounds anyway. The Democratic Party has moved past Carter's era in many ways anyway.
    On NOM, well it does not surprise me. What truly surprises me is that this organization still has so much money to spend. Who continues to donate to such an organization when ME is pretty much inevitable at this point one way or another ?
    I hope things move forward in Kansas and fast. The couples there along with those in SC and MT have waited long enough simply for precedent to be applied.

  • 16. Waxr  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Jimmy Carter says, " I'm a Baptist and the congregation of our church will decide whether we have a man or a woman as pastor, and whether we'll marry gay people or not."

    I have no argument with him on that point. His congregation should be able to decide if it wants to marry same-sex couples or not. However, when asked about same-sex marriage being nationwide, Carter said, "I'm kind of inclined to let the states decide individually."

    Has it occurred to Carter that if his state opposes same-sex marriage, then his Baptist congregation will have no say at all in whether they will marry gay people?

  • 17. StraightDave  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Yeah, dude. Do you really want religious freedom or just religious freedom for bigots? I'm inclined to think he's getting old and just hasn't connected all the dots.

  • 18. Steve84  |  October 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Yes they do have a say. Because legally this is about civil marriage, which has nothing whatsoever to do with religious marriage. There is nothing that says a church can't hold a wedding ceremony for a gay couple.

    The problem is that way too many Americans can't make that distinction. In large part because procedurally the two are far too intertwined, what with clergy signing off on marriage licenses.

  • 19. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm


    Does anyone think a Catholic church would put up with a Muslim marriage in a Catholic church, or the diocese would be happy with a priest who knowingly marries a previously divorced Catholic, or a priest who knowingly marries a couple who practice abortion?

    How about a Jewish synagogue allowing an Orthodox ceremony? Or a Greek Orthodox cathedral allowing a Catholic marriage ceremony?

    No church is forced to conduct a marriage ceremony, let alone one where the practices and/or ceremonies are such that it doesn't believe. And most Americans, if they thought about it for a second or two, would understand that point. (It might involve some explanation for them to realize that a ceremony conducted by a minister is the minister acting as an agent of the state (or the jurisdiction the ceremony is being conducted in).

  • 20. Waxr  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:03 am

    But unless that marriage is legal in the state in which it is performed, the church marriage would not be recognized by either the state or the federal government. None of the legal benefits of marriage would be available.

  • 21. DeadHead  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Those of you who are knocking down Jimmy Carter should be advised that President Carter’s administration was the first to meet with LGBTQ rights activists and he also was the first President to speak out on gay rights. He opposed California Prop 6 the Briggs Initiative which would have banned LGBTQ people and anyone who supported gay rights from working in California's public schools. I remember Carter says "human rights are absolute" which we used on a lead banner in the 1978 Pride Parade in San Francisco . And also Jimmy Carter told Californians on live TV to vote against Briggs Prop 6. I think "StraightDave" is right in saying that Jimmy Carter is "getting old and just hasn't connected all the dots."

  • 22. hopalongcassidy  |  October 28, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Becoming wrong and stupid is no different from starting out that way.

  • 23. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    We are not the ones denying the history…he is. He could've stood his ground and stuck by us, but he didn't.

    I don't know if it's age or politics, but it is a betrayal nonetheless. He will have a lot of explaining to do when all is said and done.

    Again, his opinion is irrelevant at this point. What I want to know is why he had to say anything at all.

  • 24. Swifty819  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Let me ask you this. If he had supported us entirely, would you still be saying "His opinion is irrelevant"??

  • 25. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    First, until today, I did think he supported us entirely.

    Second, even when I was acting under that assumption, I gave it very little thought in terms of relevance.

    Let's assume the opposite then. If today's news was instead that Carter made a public announcement or had an interview and said that states cannot stop marriage equality, I would still find the opinion irrelevant. I would find it nice, great even, but ultimately unimportant.

  • 26. hopalongcassidy  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:45 am

    One almost amusing irony is that pretty much everyone who's virulently against marriage equality is almost certain to be in the group that collectively hates Carter. Not sure they're all that glad for the "support", although I doubt many of them have the intellectual horsepower to discern the disconnect.

  • 27. ragefirewolf  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:53 am


  • 28. robbyinflorida  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:59 am

    In June Carter told CNN that ME should be 'nationwide'.

  • 29. A_Jayne  |  October 28, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Did his statement then have a negative impact on his grandson's campaign? Is that the reason for this change in Carter's statement now?

  • 30. StraightDave  |  October 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Once again, this all proves "If you want to know what a politician really thinks, don't ask them".

  • 31. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    The 'nationwide' part of that statement doesn't say how, just nationwide. Is it through state courts? The state legislature? A vote by the people? Federal courts? Federal legislation? Some combination of any/all the above?

    Jimmy Carter is idealistic enough to believe all people will be altruistic and emphatic enough that if they can't legitimately express how ME will personally harm them, they will be for ME.

    A bit naive, IMO, but that's how I believe he thinks.

    And remember, the populace of Georgia (where Mr. Carter and his grandson are from, and where Mr. Carter's grandson is running for office) are not even close to the thinking of CA, or MA, or MD (especially when it comes to ME).

  • 32. RQO  |  October 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I am not certain exactly what MOSERS is (state pension board?), but any step the State of Missouri takes in recognizing all out of state marriages is a step in the right direction. Is there a run-down anywhere on the current legal situation there?
    (For those of you unfamiliar with MO outside of KC and St. Louis, lets just say the place is philosophically about 10 miles from Alabama.)

  • 33. JayJonson  |  October 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    MOSERS is Missouri State Employees Retirement System.

  • 34. jpmassar  |  October 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Lambda Legal on Tuesday formally appealed a federal judge’s decision to uphold Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban. The LGBT legal advocacy group filed a four-page motion with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston — under whose jurisdiction the American commonwealth falls — in a lawsuit originally filed by a lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts in 2004. The appeal comes a week after U.S. District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez dismissed the case.

  • 35. jpmassar  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Testing the status of Baker v. Nelson

    Five Puerto Rican same-sex couples and a gay rights advocacy group on Tuesday began an uncertain trip to a federal appeals court, where a potential obstacle to their marriage plea may await them. Their lawyers filed a formal notice that they are appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, to challenge a ruling a week ago by a judge upholding Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    Two years ago, the First Circuit said flatly that it was still required to follow the Supreme Court’s summary, one-sentence ruling in 1972, in the case of Baker v. Nelson. That ruling, it said, is “binding precedent” which bars an argument that there is “a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” And, it noted, the Supreme Court has not overturned that ruling in more recent gay rights decisions. The Baker decision said without elaboration that a plea for a right to marry a same-sex partner did not raise “a substantial federal question."

    he question now is whether the First Circuit will continue to adhere to that view, in the face of a broad wave of federal court decisions indicating that Baker v. Nelson no longer remained an obstacle to striking down state laws against same-sex marriage. If the First Circuit holds fast, it could set up a split on this issue that could lead the Supreme Court to step into the same-sex marriage controversy in a way that it has so far avoided.

  • 36. jdw_karasu  |  October 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Cleaner link:

  • 37. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Wouldn't that just be a kicker if it turns out the 1CA is the one to issue a ruling that causes a circuit split. As Lyle says, not really sure what Baker had to do with the federal DOMA law, as Baker was state level marriage and DOMA was federal recognition of valid marriages. I guess you could then easily say why would Windsor overrule Baker given they are not the same issue. Freaks me out a bit, but if SCOTUS really thought Baker controlled, no way they would deny cert on those three circuit cases. Period.

  • 38. SeattleRobin  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Plus, the first circuit also now has the DOMA oral argument as an indicator. While not actual precedent, the fact that a justice, without opposition from any other justices, dismissed Baker out of hand as being meaningful today should hopefully tip the scale.

  • 39. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  October 29, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Excellent point. I forgot the Notorious RBG stated that out loud during oral arguments in Windsor. Too bad Kennedy couldn't slip that into the majority opinion.

  • 40. Zack12  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    For those saying it might be old age, here is an unpleasent truth.
    In some cases, when a person gets to be Carter's age (sometimes earlier) their faculties can start to fail.
    And when that happens, something similar to getting drunk and not being able to hold back happens.
    The switch that stops you from saying how you really feel about some people gets turned off.
    I have a feeling that is what is happening with Carter.

  • 41. sfbob  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I don't think Jimmy Carter's beginning to lose it; I suspect his statement was strategic Either that or he's changed his mind. I'm not sure why he'd do that but I would hesitate to chalk things up to creeping dementia. I have an aunt who's older than Carter. She is by no means cognitively impaired.

  • 42. Zack12  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Sad to say but that is more likely which is I why I have lost all respect for him.
    And if it was strategic, he just failed miserable.
    I have a friend in Atlanta and many in the LGBT community were already leery of him and Michelle Nunn (the latter for her father leading the charge on DADT.)
    Statements like this are NOT the way to get people out to vote for you.

  • 43. ragefirewolf  |  October 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    We're actually talking about former President Carter. The one you're referring to electorally is his grandson.

  • 44. guitaristbl  |  October 29, 2014 at 5:03 am

    Off topic : the battle for the senate is heating up less than a week before the elections for sure. I believe it may change the dynamics on the map a bit if Nunn is able to grab a GOP seat in Georgia and they also lose Kansas to an independent candidate. Then it would take a couple of of strong showings in Colorado and Iowa for the dems to keep the senate. It's going to be very tough and really close but there is still a chance IMO.

  • 45. Zack12  |  October 29, 2014 at 5:33 am

    There is still a chance but the reality is next Tuesday night is NOT going to be a good night for Democrats.

  • 46. guitaristbl  |  October 29, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Well probably not on a federal level but things look good in the governor battles, and in some cases such as FL and KS it may benefit ME immensely. A +3 net change in the governor races for the democrats is very possible.
    And it's going to be even more sweet if Walker loses in Wisconsin I think !

  • 47. JayJonson  |  October 29, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I think it may all depend on turnout. The Democratic Party's turn-out operation proved superior to that of the Republicans in 2012. I hope it does so in the key states of Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Florida on Tuesday.

  • 48. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  October 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Why the liberals and Democrats have such a hard time voting in the mid-term elections is BEYOND me. Have we not already learned our lesson from 2010 whereby redistricting took place and now we're stuck with this gerrymandered US House until 2012? Elections have consquences, and if the supermajority of people voted in this country, the top 5% (and there are many in that top 5% who vote Democrat) and big business wouldn't have their way and the middle class and those in the minority would have progress.

    I'm pessimistic about next Tuesday. I am still donating, still recruiting, and still dragging my friends to the polls here in Broward County, FL…but if I were a betting man, President Obama's final two years will be going up against a Congress that is run by the GOP in both houses, the House and the Senate.

  • 49. F_Young  |  October 29, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Off topic: Singapore upholds law that criminalizes gay sex

  • 50. Ragavendran  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:14 am

    This is sad – following the footsteps of India's Supreme Court. Singapore's law is even more discriminatory than India's because it only criminalizes "gross indecency" between two males. In contrast, India's law criminalizes sexual acts "against the order of nature" between any two persons or a person and an animal.

  • 51. hopalongcassidy  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Just shows to go ya, fundies are assholes no matter how they spell the names of their imaginary gods…

  • 52. Silvershrimp0  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Nothing from the 6th in any of the marriage equality cases today. 🙁

  • 53. BenG1980  |  October 29, 2014 at 7:53 am

    As I mentioned two weeks ago, I highly doubt Sutton and Cook will put Ohio AG Mike DeWine in particular, along with others up for reelection in the 6th Circuit (Kasich, McConnell, Alexander, etc.), on the hot seat between now and the election.

  • 54. ragefirewolf  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Mike DeWine is a Democrat and actually friends with my cousin over there who is on the trustee board for Beavercreek township (yes, that Beavercreek, OH).

  • 55. BenG1980  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:28 am

    DeWine is most definitely a Republican with decades of experience in Ohio politics and deep connections to his party. He's a former county prosecutor, state senator, U.S. Representative, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senator, and the current attorney general.

  • 56. Zack12  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Agree, I think Sutton and Cook are simply waiting for the elections to be over before they issue their 2-1 ruling against us.

  • 57. MichaelGrabow  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Oh, ye of little faith.

  • 58. ragefirewolf  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Maybe. I'm not convinced that these rulings are having much bearing on this election.

    Again, I'm saying "not much," not "none."

  • 59. BenG1980  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I'm less pessimistic now than I was after oral argument. I think there's a chance Sutton may be swayed by Posner. Immediately after orals, I thought the odds were 51-49 against us, and now I think they're 51-49 in our favor. Only time will tell, but I don't expect to find out until Nov. 5 at the earliest.

  • 60. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  October 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I was in the same boat Ben, as I assumed it was going to be a quick decision to remand and vacate the federal district court decisions based on Baker v. Nelson controlling. Then I figured maybe the dissent is what was taking longer to publish the decision. But now, given how much time it is taken, I think the case is being decided on the merits, not on a four decade-old statement that "The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question."

    And if Sutton is looking at Posner and oral arguments from Windsor, in which Justice Ginsburg stated: "The Supreme Court hadn’t even decided that gender-based classifications get any kind of heightened scrutiny. And the same-sex intimate conduct was considered criminal in many states in 1971, so I don’t think we can extract much in Baker v. Nelson.” … well then, he should vote to affirm the district court rulings and Judge Cook should be finishing her dissent.

  • 61. ragefirewolf  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:35 am

    My mistake. I thought she told me he was a Democrat or I assumed so when I saw her (my cousin). You are correct, Ben.

  • 62. BenG1980  |  October 29, 2014 at 8:45 am

    No problem. Having been born and raised in Columbus, I know some of these people personally and have kept up with local politics since moving to DC about five years ago.

    Also, by way of some additional context, Ohio Supreme Court justices are partisan elected officials. They're not listed on the ballot with their party affiliations, but they are endorsed by their respective parties. Cook was a Republican member of the court from 1995 until her confirmation to the 6th Circuit in 2003. Jeff Sutton was the Ohio Solicitor General from 1995 to 1998, arguing cases before Cook and her fellow justices during the Republican Voinovich administration.

  • 63. Online Program Leads To F&hellip  |  October 29, 2014 at 9:28 am

    […] Equality news round-up: NOM getting involved in Senate races, and more I hope things move forward in Kansas and fast. The couples there along with those in SC … I'd be more concerned if President Clinton changed his mind like that because his wife might end up in the White House and his words carry a lot more weight … Read more on Equality on Trial (registration) […]

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