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Archives – November, 2014

Despite Victories, Kansas Counties Lag on Marriage Equality

We picked up three states with marriage this week. But in one of those states, some clerks are refusing to issue licenses. Alabama’s attorneys are using a discredited anti-gay researcher to build a case for banning marriage. And we have more bad news for what’s left of the National Organization for Marriage.

We’ve added two or maybe three states to the marriage equality map this week: Montana, South Carolina, and sort of Kansas. Let’s start with Montana, where a District Court Judge ordered the state to start issuing marriage licenses this week. Montana is the last state in the Ninth Circuit to get the freedom to marry. Attorney General Tim Fox will appeal the ruling, but he’s not seeking a stay, probably because he knows there’s no point, since the Ninth Circuit will definitely uphold this decision, and the Supreme Court won’t review it. Marriage is here to stay in Montana.

And marriages have also started in South Carolina. That’s the last state in the Fourth Circuit to get marriage. Attorney General Alan Wilson had asked the Supreme Court to block marriage, pending an appeal, but they declined. Wilson’s appeal will still go to the Fourth Circuit, but they’ve already overturned marriage bans in neighboring states, so just like in Montana, marriage is there to stay.

Now on to Kansas. This is a tricky one. A District Court judge struck down the state’s ban, and the stay on the ruling expired at the end of last week. Some counties have started issuing marriage licenses. But others haven’t. And state agencies are refusing to honor the licenses that have been issued, since Governor Brownback is appealing the decision. Kansas is in the Tenth Circuit, where the every other court has overturned marriage bans, so they have virtually no chance of stopping marriage. Governor Brownback will lose his appeal, it’s just hard to say when.

A lawsuit in South Dakota is moving ahead. A federal judge there rejected the state’s claim that the 1972 case Baker v. Nelson prevents a federal ruling. Just a few weeks ago, the Sixth Circuit cited Baker as justification for upholding a marriage ban, so it’s a promising sign that the South Dakota judge rejected that argument.

Florida attorney general Pam Bondi has filed appeals in multiple cases to try to stop marriage. Her chances of prevailing are not great. But for now, marriage is still on hold in Florida. In Louisiana, gay couples have asked to skip the Fifth Circuit and go right to the Supreme Court for a ruling. And over in Alabama, the state has cited the work of Mark Regnerus in its latest brief. Regnerus is the author of a discredited study on gay parenting, which a federal Judge in Michigan called “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration.” So, good luck with that, Alabama.

And finally, the National Organization for Marriage is not doing well. New tax filings show donations dropped over 50% in 2013, with the group ending the year $2.5 million in debt. NOM has faced large fines over the last year due to campaign finance violations, and donations have dropped sharply since the organization really hasn’t had a major victory in several years.

21 Comments November 24, 2014

Equality news round-up: ACLU to broaden same-sex marriage lawsuit, and more

News from Kansas, Arkansas, and more.

Continue 228 Comments November 21, 2014

5th Circuit to hear arguments in Texas, Louisiana marriage cases on January 9; Louisiana plaintiffs ask Supreme Court to take up case

Fifth Circuit cases will be heard in early January. The plaintiffs in the Louisiana case have asked the Supreme Court to go ahead and review their case now.

Continue 74 Comments November 20, 2014

Ninth Circuit won’t hear Alaska marriage appeal with 11-judge panel

Ninth Circuit won’t hear the Alaska marriage case en banc.

Continue 91 Comments November 20, 2014

BREAKING: Supreme Court declines to stop South Carolina same-sex marriages

South Carolina has marriage equality.

Continue 141 Comments November 20, 2014

BREAKING: Montana same-sex marriage ban struck down

Montana is the latest state with marriage equality.

Continue 121 Comments November 19, 2014

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