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Equality news round-up: State’s brief filed in Louisiana marriage case, and more

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Fifth Circuit Court of AppealsThe Fight for LGBT Hate Crimes Legislation Is Moving to the States

– The state officials defending Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals have filed their brief in the case.

– The ACLU of South Carolina has filed another lawsuit regarding same-sex marriage: this one was filed on behalf of same-sex married couples who can’t get drivers’ licenses in their married name.

– The plaintiffs in the Missouri marriage case filed a request to cancel oral arguments and have a ruling based only on the filings. The request was granted.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. DACiowan  |  November 3, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Two short unpublished rulings out of the Sixth, neither involving Sutton.

  • 2. ragefirewolf  |  November 3, 2014 at 8:25 am


  • 3. wnchugg  |  November 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I think the Sixth is waiting to release their opinion(s) until after the elections are over (later this week).

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  November 3, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Not much to comment on from a judicial aspect but did I read correctly ? The people attending the rally against HERO in Houston actually wore shirts saying "We reserve the right to refuse service to homosexuals" ? These people do tend to shoot themselves in the foot, don't they ?
    I mean having a human waste like robertson mocking transgender people is something I expected, but don't they realize that if one parallel was drawn between the civil rights fight for people of colour, by wearing such shirts they only help more to be drawn ?

    At the same time I heard LGBT people gathered winter clothes for the homeless, in a symbolic gesture of good will.

    I don't know where Houston as a whole stands on HERO but I am not really sure today's rally helped the cause of the homophobic crowd if things were as described.

  • 5. sfbob  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    The shirts were pretty easy to read. And yes, you did read them correctly. I'm not sure how or why people think it's somehow honorable to make a statement like that or to wear clothing that carries such a statement, but there we have it…bigotry, loudly flaunted.

  • 6. Eric  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Do you have any pictures of people wearing those shirts? It would be great content for what this debate is really about.

  • 7. franklinsewell  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

  • 8. sfbob  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Yes, there…or here:

  • 9. debater7474  |  November 3, 2014 at 9:56 am

    To be frank, folks, I wouldn't expect a ruling out of the sixth until election week is over.

  • 10. DACiowan  |  November 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I personally am buying the idea that the SCOTUS cert denials meant that the Sixth has to revamp its opinion from a 2-1 negative ruling, punting to the Supremes, to a 2-1 positive ruling, and that the clock was largely reset on October 6. As well, there are four cases to wade through. I would not be surprised if the Sixth comes in late November or perhaps even into December although I do hope it is sooner.

  • 11. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  November 3, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I'd concur with you on that one, as I really think it was going to be a quick vacate of district court rulings based on Baker and waiting for the dissent to be written, and then once SCOTUS denied cert – essentially saying Baker is not controlling, otherwise they woulds be required to take a case – Sutton had to change course and file a ruling on the merits, which will be a 2-1 ruling affirming the lower court decisions (and yes, multiple decisions takes longer). Now the question is, how long for the multiple cases and Judge Cook's dissent.

  • 12. Zack12  |  November 3, 2014 at 11:48 am

    You can be sure Cook will take her sweet time, bigots are spiteful like that.

  • 13. jdw_karasu  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I think if there was a 2-1 negative ruling, they would have issued it before the Cert Denial.

    If Sutton wanted to point to Baker as a way to punt (which I think is as far as he was willing to go in the negative direction), then he could have gotten Cook to sign off on that. While she might have liked to do a more frothy opinion similar to PR's recent one, she likely would have taken anything that would give pro-Ban folks a "win" and send it to SCOTUS.

    What we almost certainly had at the time was a 1-1-1 court:

    * Cook wanting to uphold the bans
    * Daughtrey on our side
    * Sutton wanting SCOTUS to take the thing out of his hands

    That's why there was a slow walk: Sutton's desire for SCOTUS to take up one of the other cases, which given the slew Opinions coming down and Gay Stays seemed quite possible.

    Then came the cert denials, and Sutton has a new dilemma. Which is causing the continued slow walk: Sutton's been forced to make up his mind, and isn't happy about the options.

    * He could try to pretend that Baker still controls

    Given the denial of certs, that really is a thin ledge for a Circuit Judge at this point to walk out on. He'd look like a fool.

    * He could uphold the bans

    Join Cook on the dark side, let her write the frothy opinion, and have a 100% certainty (baring RBG or someone else on SCOTUS dropping dead) that their opinion will be the one that SCOTUS uses to strike down all the remaining bans. That doesn't seem like where he was leaning in the hearings, and instead clinging to Baker as his "out".

    * join Daughtrey in striking down the bans

    Let Daughtrey write it, but request it be a clean & simple one rather than hammering the pro-ban folks. Given the non-certs, there's a bit more to point to now than when the first wave of Circuit opinions were coming down so it shouldn't be hard to craft a simple one. Sutton can just concur with it.

    My thought it Daughtrey would be perfectly happy to write such an opinion. It's possible that the current delay we're seeing is a combo of (i) the election and (ii) Daughtrey drafting something that Sutton can concur with and it just taking some back-and-forth review & changes from him.

    I would start worrying about the 6th sometime around 11/12 – a week after the election.

  • 14. Zack12  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Sutton could look at Jerome Holmes option in the Oklahoma marriage ban case where he struck the ban down but went out of his way to downplay animus as a cause of the ban.

  • 15. jdw_karasu  |  November 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    My guess is that if he joins Daughtrey and let's her write the opinion with it being a simple & mild one that he's comfortable with, that he won't write anything. He won't write a separate concurrence… he'll just let her write for the "majority" while Cook goes off on a bender in a dissent. He'll ask (i.e. read-between-the-lines demand) that Daughtrey doesn't go into a animus discussion/finding. I don't think at this point Daughtrey needed to get into animus to craft an opinion.

  • 16. NorthernAspect  |  November 5, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    They can issue 3 separate opinions though… Just need two justices to agree on the ultimate court order, even if they don't agree on the rationale, correct?

  • 17. BillinNO  |  November 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

    debater, I accept that the release of a decision can be timed- but for the benefit of us IANALs, what does the release of a decision have to do with external factors such as an election? How does a panel of judges justify holding a settled opinion, essentially deferring justice for release on the 'right day'? Again- IANAL- but I thought justice was blind, not shrewdly watching an election calendar. And- if we accept that the possibility that the opinion is being held up for the election what is the rationale? Who does it help/hurt and how? I don't think I 'get' it…can you help me with this/

  • 18. Mike_Baltimore  |  November 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm


    Justice may be blind, but judges and justices are not as they are humans. And the timing of the release of the ruling is determined by the judges and justices. And they may time their ruling so that it is to the benefit, or not, of the political philosophy of the various candidates.

  • 19. BillinNO  |  November 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    That doesn't seem ethical somehow.

  • 20. JayJonson  |  November 4, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Yes, of course, it is not ethical. And your point is?

    I hope I am not too cynical, but I suspect that very few judges who make it to the higher levels of the judiciary are ethical in the sense that they do not weigh the political implications of how they rule on a particular issue or when the ruling is released, to say nothing of how their rulings may affect their personal ambitions.

    (Some, of course, are actively unethical in that they are on the take or that their rulings are calculated to reward the financial interests of themselves and/or their sponsors. I doubt, however, that that is the case with many. Still, most judges, remember who put them where they are and why.)

  • 21. Mike_Baltimore  |  November 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

    In other news:

    It won't help current or past cases, but the Philadelphia City Council, by a vote of 17-0, has passed an ordinance that would enhance penalties upon conviction for hate crimes in the city of Philadelphia.
    (… )

  • 22. guitaristbl  |  November 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I made the mistake to dive into comments and posts about the HERO situation around the web and today's events. I am literally physically ill right now…We always draw very pointed lines between the civil rights battle of the 60s and the civil rights battle today, but it hasn't felt more real to me till this day, when I saw the true hate of these people who whine about being "oppresed".

    The biggest win here will be to keep HERO outside the ballot and send a message that civil rights are not to be voted upon by vile liars like those called "christians". One day the future generations will look to such events with such disgust…That day cannot come too soon unfortunately.

  • 23. mariothinks  |  November 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I think if Sutton rules in our favor he may write one of those opinions where he says even though he disagrees that change is coming through the courts as opposed to referendums, he is forced to rule in favor of gay marriage because his job requires him to consider the constitutional question.

  • 24. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  November 4, 2014 at 6:42 am

    […] USA, Louisiana: State officials have filed their briefs in the marriage equality case. full story […]

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