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Hey everyone,

We’re getting close to the Fifth Circuit hearings on January 9, but there’s still time to make a tax-deductible donation to help cover expenses for travel to New Orleans to cover the hearings. Any amount you can give will also ensure we can fund EqualityOnTrial throughout the new year as well.

We’re really happy about the progress we’ve made so far, but if you’re reading this and you want to make sure we can provide excellent coverage throughout the new year, please help us out.

We will also be hosting a live chat for people who make donations. Jacob and I will participate in the chat to answer your questions about the hearing. We’ve done this on several other occasions, and the chats are always interesting, informative, and fun.

So if you could spare any amount, that would be great.

We’re really excited about the upcoming hearings, and we’re looking forward to seeing marriage equality in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

Thank you all so much and happy new year,

– Scottie and the EOT team


  • 1. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    It is extremely frustrating to me for these anti-gay bigots to use the County Clerks as pawns that they can sue at random……either the County Clerks are under the direction of the Department of Records or whatever they are called, or they are independent of some higher authority and can either follow the law or face the consequences…….but it is NOT okay to say they are independent for one reason and part of the State Government Officials in other cases……i.e. the Clerk in PA was considered a Rogue Clerk for taking it upon himself to issue marriage licenses, but in Florida, that's NOT allowed UNLESS the Anti-gay folks claim it is!!!

  • 2. Eric  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    If the county clerks are independent constitutional officers, then threats of jail time are hollow. If the threat of jail time is not hollow, then the clerks are not independent constitutional officers. The anti-gay can't seem to make up their minds.

  • 3. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I know, right? Either the County Clerks are just administrators of issuing and recording Marriage Licenses or their independent of a Department Head….but they CAN'T be both.

  • 4. yyyAllenyyy  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    When is the live chat?

  • 5. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I think like the last few times we've done one, it will be later in the evening on the day of the hearings.

  • 6. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Donation donated. Given how much information and community this site has provided me during the last year, it is a pleasure to provide support. Happy New Year to all of us, and here's to the 6CA cases being granted cert and decided this summer!

  • 7. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you! And happy new year!

    And yeah, haha, January 9 might turn out to be a very busy and interesting day, if SCOTUS issues orders on that day, when the conference is over.

  • 8. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Agree… it'll definitely be a busy day with regards to meetings (orals in 5CA, conference at SCOTUS). It'd be an interesting thing for the 5CA to have their oral arguments, then basically hear that afternoon that their ruling is basically going to be moot regardless of what it might be (likely upholding the bans) due to SCOTUS granting certiorari on an identical case.

  • 9. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I'm rather surprised that the 5th CA is still planning on hearing oral arguments knowing that it's very possible for SCOTUS to grant cert to one or all of the cases coming from the 6th essentially putting whatever ruling they might have made on hold……seems like a wasted time……but only because of the time frame in which it coincides with the conference from SCOTUS.

  • 10. scream4ever  |  December 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    The oral arguments were scheduled months before it was known the cases would be before the Supreme Court. Also, there is always the slight chance of cert being denied and the cases being remanded back to the 6th Circuit.

  • 11. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    True, unlikely…but anything is possible.

  • 12. hopalongcassidy  |  December 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    It seems the tech issues have been resolved and we're grateful for that too! I donated a small amount, my SO recently lost his job & finances are a bit snug right now, hopefully not for long.
    (Had nothing to do with any gay issues, the president of the small company he worked for passed away and the surviving family elected to close it down…stupidly.)

    eta: no response needed or expected. Happy new year!

  • 13. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Happy New Year to you, too, Hop!

    Here's hoping not for too long, and to your SO finding a job that he desires.

  • 14. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you so much! And I hope he's able to find work soon.

  • 15. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Here ya go:

    It's always important to remember those who wish us harm……some are just pathetic!!!

  • 16. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    The BIG question in Florida…which day will Judge Hinkle bring the hammer down on the State of Florida officials (Sec of DMS, Surgeon General, AG) and the "independent Constitutional Officers of the State of Florida Clerks of County Courts" in order to allow ME on 1/6/15?

    Vote for:
    – STILL TIME TODAY: Tuesday, 12/30/14
    – NEW YEAR'S EVE PRESENT: Wed, 12/31/14
    – FEDERAL HOLIDAY, WHO CARES: Thurs, 1/1/15
    – THANK GOODNESS IT'S FRIDAY: Friday, 1/2/15
    – WEEKEND WARRIOR IN ACTION: Saturday, 1/3/15
    – THE ULTIMATE SUNDAY FUNDAY: Sunday, 1/4/15
    – NOTHING LIKE THE LAST MINUTE: Monday, 1/5/16
    – BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Tuesday, 1/6/15 (or later)

  • 17. jpmassar  |  December 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm


  • 18. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    My guess is January 2nd

  • 19. davepCA  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    okay I'll play the optimist:
    ToMORRow, toMORRow……

  • 20. Steve27516  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I'm joining Rose with a vote for January 2.

  • 21. RnL2008  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm


  • 22. sfbob  |  December 30, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I don't Hinkle has any doubts as to what his "clarification" will say, nor does he really have any doubts about how much b.s. is behind the "independent constitutional officers" line that Bondi has thrown out. It's really mainly a matter of wordsmithing the document. I won't be surprised if he issues it on Wednesday.

  • 23. VIRick  |  December 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Plus, if they were such "Independent constitutional officers," then they ought to have been able to do absolutely whatever they pleased, all along, with total and complete impunity, so that under that guise, they should have been able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, had they so chosen to do so.

  • 24. josejoram  |  December 31, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Thanks goodness is Friday…I hope so.

  • 25. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 31, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I, myself, am going for TGIF on 1/2/15. Not a federal holiday, and not making us all sweat through a weekend and waiting on the final day before the stay expires.

  • 26. franklinsewell  |  December 31, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I vote New Year's Eve present for EOT'ers – Today. I think Hinkle is pissed.

  • 27. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 31, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Oh I think he's beyond pissed that he's been left at the alter by the State of Florida who obviously was not working in good concert with the court in stating relief could be provided (it's OBVIOUS this was not just about the Plantiffs, but the amendment and statues) by the named defendants. Question is now how scathing he wants to be, and how long it'll take to put it into words.

    You know when you are so emotional for reading or seeing something and you immediately write a response, then have to go back and reread and edit it a few times? I imagine Hinkle is doing that a few times.

  • 28. Mike_Baltimore  |  December 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    In most cases, the actions of the defendent are taken into account when a sentence is handed down. If the defendant cooperates, the sentence is generally reduced to the extent the judge can reduce it. If the defendant is not cooperative, the judge generally goes to the high end of possible sentences.

    In this case, the state of Florida (the defendant) is not cooperating, and thus I fully expect the judge will 'throw the book' at the state as represented by Pam Bondi.

    I don't think I would want to be in her shoes when Judge Hinkle hands down his ruling.

  • 29. BillinNO  |  January 1, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Can I still vote? If so, put me down for 1.2.15.

  • 30. brandall  |  January 1, 2015 at 8:31 am

    – THANK GOODNESS IT'S FRIDAY: Friday, 1/2/15

  • 31. VIRick  |  December 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    The Lakeland-based Publix super-market chain, a company which has heretofore been less than overtly pro-LGBT, has announced that starting on 1 January 2015, they will be expanding benefits to legally married same-sex couples:

    "Publix is expanding spousal coverage for its health, dental, and vision benefits plans to associates who are married in any state where same-sex marriages are legal, regardless of the associates' state of residence. Publix's benefits plans offer coverage to legal spouses, and until recently, the states in which Publix operates did not recognize same-sex marriages as legal unions."

    Publix is the nation's sixth-largest privately held corporation, and the largest such Florida-based company, with 167,000 employees at nearly 1100 locations across the southeast, with locations in Florida (756), Georgia (182), Alabama (56), South Carolina (49), Tennessee (38), and North Carolina (9). It is wholly-owned by past and present employees

    In particular, given their omni-presence all over Florida, I like the way they phrased the recognition issue in the past tense, "….did not recognize…." So now, in protest, the bigots in Florida can stop shopping at Publix,– and starve.

    Again Rose, on the other point, I'm just quoting their press release. We all know they meant to say "marriage between same-sex couples."

    And Ryan, based on Publix's huge announcement, I'll back-date my vote to 24 December 2014. OK, seriously, I'll vote for 31 December.

  • 32. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Good thing I use a pencil, easy to erase that 24th date and mark you for the 31st!

    There aren't a whole lot of choices for grocery stores here in South Florida, at least here in the northern Fort Lauderdale city of Wilton Manors. In fact, I can walk to our Publix with reusable bags and easily shop and be home (if I can resist both the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts on the way). So I glad they've taken this step, it makes me happy to know we aren't shopping with a company that doesn't provide these benefits.

    (As for the Chick-fil-a opening down the road…best of luck!)

  • 33. VIRick  |  December 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    And Publix certainly wasn't required to make this move,– at least not just yet.

    At the present moment, only 58 (or 5%) of their 1090 store locations are in marriage equality states (in SC, NC). However, it's also quite obvious that Publix can clearly read the hand-writing on the wall; namely, once Florida obtains marriage equality, they will suddenly have 814 (or 75%) of their store locations in marriage equality states. I'm sure they've already done the math.

    People outside of Florida may not fully realize how huge a move this is on the part of Publix, but they totally dominate the retail supermarket chain-store business there, and are a monstrously important Florida-based corporation with state-wide impact, with stores from Key West to Fernandina Beach to Pensacola,– plus hundreds of cities in between and beyond. Even my favorite Florida place-name, Homosassa, has TWO!

    Some day, I'll have to tell you the story about the sassy homo from Homosassa.

  • 34. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 31, 2014 at 7:05 am

    How long will I have to wait??? Tease!

  • 35. VIRick  |  December 31, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Keep teasing, and you won't have to wait at all!

  • 36. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Do I need to do a dance of some sort? I'm ready, I'm game, let's hear it!

  • 37. VIRick  |  December 31, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    "…. I'm game …."

    I can read that coy claim in two very different ways! LOL

  • 38. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 31, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I'm pretty sure there are Publix locations in New Jersey and Delaware as well.

  • 39. Eric  |  December 31, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Was this a shift in policy or did they merely issue a press release for complying with what the ACA required of their health plans? Many companies did the later when California required equal treatment for Registered Domestic Partners.

  • 40. VIRick  |  December 31, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Internally, within the corporation, it would have to be read as a policy shift, because previously, Publix was not known to be on the cutting-edge of LGBT issues. The timing of their announcement, coming just one week before marriage legalization in Florida, seems quite auspicious. Furthermore, their perceived policy shift has been widely disseminated throughout the Florida media as a major break-through.

    But I've also considered your point regarding the new ACA spousal non-discrimination requirement, effective from 1 January 2015, as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama made a similar non-discrimination announcement a few weeks ago, citing the ACA requirement. Publix's careful wording is almost a perfect match, but without the ACA citation.

    Thus, whether rightly or wrongly, Publix's announcement has been widely interpreted as anticipatory of the change in Florida law, initiated by a major Florida corporation, rather than due to any ACA requirement.

  • 41. A_Jayne  |  December 31, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Excellent marketing strategy on someone's part…

  • 42. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I donated as well. I am proud to support this site and its people.

  • 43. cpnlsn88  |  December 31, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I donated as well. I have got a lot from the web site. It has been an invaluable source of information and debate. There will be some twists and turns ahead, but not that many. Shenanigans in Florida – as we see – as well as Kansas. But in the main, its all about the 5th and SCOTUS if they grant cert as is expected. The hearing at the 5th will be a historic moment.

  • 44. hopalongcassidy  |  January 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm

  • 45. Raga  |  January 6, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Fifth Circuit Oral Argument Rules for General Public & Press:

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