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Equality news round-up: Michigan won’t have to recognize dying man’s same-sex marriage, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– A federal district court in Michigan is refusing to lift a stay and recognize a dying man’s same-sex marriage.

– The same-sex couples’ brief in the Nebraska marriage case in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has been filed.

– A Texas bill challenging an eventual ruling by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage has cleared a committee.

Buzzfeed reports that a majority of the Republican-led Senate has been voting in favor of LGBT rights. Some of the bills have still failed, though, because some require 60 votes.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. guitaristbl  |  April 23, 2015 at 8:29 am

    It seems that the 8th will be the last circuit to rule before SCOTUS rules and the only one from now on *sigh*..I hope it does not change anything and after the ruling, the 8th circ cases which will reach SCOTUS will simply be reversed and remanded in light of Obergfell.

  • 2. scream4ever  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I'm hoping one of the judges on the 8th panel will be able to drag it out until the Supreme Court issues their ruling. I also still expect the 5th to issue their ruling soon as they haven't indicated otherwise.

  • 3. guitaristbl  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Looking at their backgrounds, it's extremely unlikely they won't rush an anti-equality opinion out in the 8th.
    The 5th doesn't really have to say anything or indicate a delay, they can just sit on the case as long as they wish after oral arguments and till they issue an opinion..And being that close to SCOTUS arguments I doubt they will rule before late June/early July now…Smith is probably dragging the whole thing with his dissent..

  • 4. scream4ever  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Possibly, but given that both sides requested that they rule regardless of the Supreme Court's actions, more likely then not they would've indicated that they would be putting the ruling on hold.

  • 5. DrBriCA  |  April 23, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    The delay in getting an opinion from the 5th has been especially frustrating since the Texas AG was able to swiftly block the expansion of FMLA benefits to same-sex spouses in 4 states, courtesy of a sympathetic district federal judge who would've otherwise been bound by a pro-ME decision from the 5th. There's still a chance that the decision could be issued after they see how the Supreme Court may lean after Tuesday's arguments. And the later we wait, the less time there is to even start any likely en banc process before the big decision.

  • 6. Waxr  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

    The Texas bill would forbid the use of state or local funds for issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Now, if they would add on a section which forbids the use of state or local funds to defend the bill in a court of law, they would have something. Otherwise they are just throwing away taxpayer money.

  • 7. Eric  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Hopefully, someone will challenge the law such that it must be applied in a sexual orientation neutral way. No state or local funds for issuing marriage licenses.

  • 8. Rick55845  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I thought that the cost of issuing marriage licenses was borne by the applicants. Why else would a couple have to pay a fee to obtain it?

  • 9. RnL2008  |  April 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    But there ISN'T any licenses being issued for "SAME-SEX" marriages and how is this NOT show out right ANIMUS towards Gays and Lesbians? Frankly…….this is TOTAL BS and these sort of bills will LOSE when lawsuits are filed and eventually SCOTUS is GOING to get fed-up with this bull shiet!!!

  • 10. 1grod  |  April 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

    61% favor ssm & 'recognition'; 62% oppose any-State ban: Highest in WP/ABC polling.

  • 11. 1grod  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

    How persons of faith feel about marriage equality: favour – 54% v 38% [JWs most strongly oppose]

  • 12. seannynj  |  April 23, 2015 at 11:12 am

    The title of that Michigan article is unfair to the judge. He said he was sympathetic to the couples situation but he was also bound by the 6th Circuit ruling. If he had gone rouge and ruled for the plaintiffs, the 6th would also definitely reversed the decision. The real title should have been "Judge's Hands Tied In Michigan Marriage Case".

  • 13. davepCA  |  April 23, 2015 at 11:22 am

    " ….( for the next sixty days) "

  • 14. DJSNOLA  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Agree the title makes it seem like the judge had a choice. This is another reminder of the real world effects of the bigotry we receive because of these laws.

  • 15. mu2  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    When the SC rules correctly in June most of the 6th will be rouge. Not rogue.

  • 16. JayJonson  |  April 24, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Well, he said he was "not unsympathetic," which is not quite the same thing as declaring that he is sympathetic to the couple. But it is difficult to see how he could have ruled differently. He makes clear how and why he is bound by the Sixth Circuit ruling in DeBoer and how this petition differs from Caspar. Yes, his hands were tied.

  • 17. A_Jayne  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I disagree with Buzzfeed's assessment that (R) party Senators voting for LGBTQ-friendly amendments to bills is an indication of a change in politics. IMHO, it is simply political posturing in advance of the SCOTUS ruling in June, and a 2016 election in which most of the general election voters will be pro-LGBTQ.

    The (R) Senators voting for these amendments are not thinking of LGBTQ people, they are thinking of the campaign ads they'll be able to run to convince people they are not RWNJ religiousist extremists, which will be (hopefully) a negative in the 2016 general election.

    (For the primaries that year, they can say to the primary voters, most of whom may still be RWNJ religiousist extremists, that their votes really didn't matter because the amendments wouldn't pass the 60-vote threshold anyway.)

  • 18. DJSNOLA  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I disagree that they dont mean their votes. The truth is many of these republicans now feel emboldened to take these positions because the support for us has grown so much. So yes its a political calculation, but when the politics work in our favor we should still be thankful for the support even if its only because its politically popular. Thats the nature of politics in general. It isnt about right or wrong but popular or not!

  • 19. A_Jayne  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    "Thats the nature of politics in general. It isnt about right or wrong but popular or not!"

    I cannot find, no matter how hard I look, an argument with that statement. But I really dislike the truth of it.

    And I suppose I am "grateful" that such political calculations now work in our favor, especially in light of how hard we have all worked to make that happen. Perhaps in my idealism and cynicism, I want the leaders of the country to (maybe, at some point?) actually stand up for the freedoms and equality the country's founding documents enshrine – and to do so proudly and fearlessly. Then I would be grateful without the quotes.

  • 20. DJSNOLA  |  April 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Very understandable and I too hate that truth but its reality and best way to win is face reality and figure out how to win.

    On a side note I heard a very interesting rebuttal the other day to the argument(very weak one) that allowing same sex marriage would lead to polygamy. If gay marriage would encourage that, then why did the Mormon Church(arguably the largest group of practicing polygamist) actively fight recognition for gay marriage. Surely, if the slippery slope argument had any weight the Mormon Church or many of its adherents would have supported gay marriage in the hopes that polygamy would be next. Anyways, thought it was an interesting point that was made.

  • 21. A_Jayne  |  April 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    It is an interesting point. A valid rebuttal to the slippery slope (polygamy) claims, thus weakening the argument even further. I'll add it to my arsenal of counter-points. Thank you!

  • 22. FredDorner  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Actually the current version of the LDS cult opposes polygamy and they did use that particular slippery-slope argument when they lobbied against same-sex marriage.

    However, the FLDS are polygamous and they still oppose both same-sex marriage and mixed-race marriage.

  • 23. VIRick  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    ….. and anyone else who might accidentally look at them cross-eyed.

  • 24. SoCal_Dave  |  April 23, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    IMO, one reason the mainline mormon church has fought so hard against marriage equality is that they want to be seen as big defenders of one-man/one-woman "traditional" marriage so everyone will forget about their embarrassing polygamous past. (that ain't gonna happen)

  • 25. FredDorner  |  April 23, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Dave, there's another explanation. The LDS cult is profoundly misogynistic and patriarchal, and marriage equality threatens that core doctrine.

  • 26. SoCal_Dave  |  April 23, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Agree, that too!

  • 27. JayJonson  |  April 24, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Yet another reason they so vigorously campaigned in support of Proposition 8 is that they thought that would gain them acceptance in the world of Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics and that they would come to seem more like a traditional Christian denomination.

    Actually, however, it didn't quite work out that way. On the one hand, the Catholics and Evangelicals quite happily let them raise most of the money and most of the grass roots campaigners for the effort, but they did not stop thinking of them as a heretical cult, while also allowing them to take the most heat for their advocacy against gay rights. I suspect that is why they now want to create a detente with gay rights activists in Utah. Their anti-gay campaign just wasn't working out the way they thought it would and they were becoming a byword for bigotry.

  • 28. Eric  |  April 24, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Becoming? Where have they not been a byword for bigotry? Mountain Meadows, African American priests, etc.

  • 29. FredDorner  |  April 24, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    …..and even with their whites-only boy scout leaders and racially segregated troops. An NAACP lawsuit against the BSA and the racist LDS cult is why the BSA dropped its racist policies in 1974. In response the Southern Baptists and Mormons took over the BSA leadership, moved the headuarters to Texas, and banned gays.

  • 30. scream4ever  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Well regardless it still shows a change in politics since many of them are realizing that voting anti-gay isn't smart if you want to win re-election.

  • 31. A_Jayne  |  April 23, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    And that is especially true for those who must compete in statewide elections as opposed to district-level ones. Still, were convictions (genuine dedication to the Constitution) instead of political smarts at play, that would signal the "change in politics" I want to see happen.

  • 32. scream4ever  |  April 23, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    "It does not matter how or why. What matters was that it got done"- Source Unknown

  • 33. DJSNOLA  |  April 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Yes it sucks that rights that should be inherent even requires a popularity contest but it unfortunately does. There will still be many battles ahead but this war is won.

  • 34. Sagesse  |  April 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I haven't been following this as closely as I should. So happy that France is standing up to the Vatican on this.

    Pope Francis Tells Gay Ambassador To His Face He Is Unacceptable [New Civil Rights Movement]

  • 35. Sagesse  |  April 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    And, somewhat related:

    NOM's Hate March Loses Its Most Anti-Gay Catholic One Week After Parishioners Ask Pope To Oust Him [New Civil Rights Movement]

    "…Archbishop Cordileone, who serves as the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has issued a vague press release announcing he will not be attending or speaking at the anti-gay march, giving little explanation….

    "It's unclear who made the decision, if it was Cordileone himself, the [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] USCCB, or the Vatican."

  • 36. 1grod  |  April 24, 2015 at 6:58 am

    The cleric's website statement following the Nov 2012 ballot initiative victories suggested to me what Sal must have like as an 8 year old playing marbles with his chums: 'Play by my rules or none of us will play' : [in part] "No matter what policy, law or judicial decision is put into place, marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children born of their union. It is either this, or it is nothing at all……" This year the USCCB's president and the chairs of its committee on Religious Liberty will attend the March. Oh,when will they ever learn?

  • 37. JayJonson  |  April 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

    They will learn when Catholic laypersons quit donating to them. That is the real significance of the full page ad San Francisco donors placed in the Chronicle that consisted of an open letter to the Pope requesting that Crodeleone be replaced as Archbishop of San Francisco. I suspect that is the real reason he will not be at the hate march.

    Unfortunately, the Vatican Ambassador to the U.S. will be speaking there, and that is a genuine affront to the entire country.

  • 38. 1grod  |  April 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Jay: It is one state's interference in the internal affairs of another country. But, if the Congress can invite Lukid party leader Benjamin Netanyahu to speak during Israel's election campaign period, then mutual state interference is more acceptable than I thought…. Oh,when will USCCB ever learn? Likely TOO LATE as on this, like other social issues the leadership remains on a different page: PRRI's March 2015 survey found 53 percent of Catholics supported same-gender marriage, 56 percent didn't believe sexual relations between two adults of the same gender constituted a sin, 60 percent of Catholics favored adoption rights for same-sex couples,73 percent believe they should have legal protections in the workplace.and 49 percent think gays should be allowed to be ordained as clergy.

  • 39. Steve84  |  April 23, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Why send an ambassador at all? No country should have official diplomatic relations with a church.

  • 40. VIRick  |  April 23, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Following Italian reunification, the establishment Vatican City as a separate independent state was done so as to allow the rest of Italy to become a secular state, given that the Vatican once directly ruled a large chunk of modern Italy when it was still split up into duchies and city-states.

    Sending ambassadors to the Vatican is just one of those hold-over diplomatic "niceties" that many counties do. For example, Turkey just recalled their ambassador to the Vatican when the pope said "Genocide" and "Armenia" in the same sentence.

    On the other hand, France doesn't give a shit what anyone else thinks about its ambassadors.

  • 41. wes228  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:19 am

    The United States condenses Spain and Andorra into the same embassy with the same ambassador. We do the same for France and Monaco, and Italy and San Marino. There is no reason why the Ambassador to Italy/San Marino also can't handle Vatican City.

  • 42. mu2  |  April 24, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I seriously doubt any French lost sleep over our knuckledragging "right" wingnut's effort to rename pommes frites "Freedom Fries"…

  • 43. NetAmigo  |  April 24, 2015 at 10:07 am

    The US began the practice of sending an ambassador to the Vatican under Reagan in 1984, probably as an effort to gain votes from US Catholics.

  • 44. StraightDave  |  April 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Go, France!

    "Who am I to judge?… One must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society." – Pope Francis, July 28, 2014, somewhere high above international waters on a flight from Brazil to Rome, presumably much closer to God at that moment than he is today 🙂

    You can take the boy out of the church but you can't take the church out of the boy. (stolen from uncountable speakers in uncountable contexts)

  • 45. DrPatrick1  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Le Canard is a satirical news site. I wonder if we are all being conned with this. French satire is far more subtle than that found in the US.

    Having said that, I sure do hope this story is true!

  • 46. SimmieK  |  April 27, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Le Canard is not a French version of "The Onion". It does contain political humour, but it also contains serious political journalism, and it keeps the two distinct. It has been very good over the years at breaking French political scandals; it clearly has some very well-placed sources in the French establishment. So if Le Canard claims this meeting with the Pope happened, it most probably did.

  • 47. NetAmigo  |  April 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    The Pope really did meet with Laurent Stefanini, France's choice for ambassador to the Vatican. In fact, this is the second time France has sent the Vatican a gay ambassador. They did so in 2007 when the Conservatives were in power. The Vatican did not like that choice either. You can read all about straight from the Catholic News Agency.

  • 48. VIRick  |  April 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Ecuador's Legislature Approves Expanded Civil Unions Bill

    On 22 April 2015, Ecuadorian lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the across-the-board legal recognition of civil unions in the South American country. By an 89-1 vote margin, members of the Ecuadorian Assembly approved the provision as part of a measure that seeks to amend the country’s civil code.

    "El Comercio," an Ecuadorian newspaper, reported the measure would allow LGBT couples to receive “the same rights and obligations of a marriage” in terms of pensions, purchasing a home together, and other benefits. It would also eliminate the requirements that couples must wait two years before entering into a (de facto) civil union, as well as demonstrate that they had lived together during this same two-year period. The proposal would apply equally to same-sex couples, as well as to unmarried straight couples.

    In 2008, Ecuadorian voters approved their country’s new constitution that allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, but gays and lesbians remain unable to adopt children.

    In referring to the newly-passed legislation, Diane Rodríguez, president of Silueta X Association, an Ecuadorian LGBT advocacy group, stated, "It is a major achievement." Rodríguez, who is a transgender woman, and her partner, Nicolás Guamanquispe, last September became the first LGBT couple in Ecuador to register their civil union. The ceremony took place in the city of Guayaquil, a few weeks after President Rafael Correa ordered authorities to allow gays and lesbians to formalize their partnerships for identification purposes.

    Correa has 30 days to sign or veto the new measure. It remains unclear whether the Ecuadorian president will veto the bill, but Rodríguez remains optimistic that he won’t. “It works just like a marriage. By my critique, this is the best that we have obtained in Ecuador until now.”

    Ecuador is among the growing list of Latin American countries that have extended legal recognition to same-sex couples. Gays and lesbians are able to marry in Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil, Guyane Français, les Antilles Françaises, Mexico City, and the states of Coahuila and Quintana Roo. A handful of same-sex couples in Colombia have married since a ruling from Colombia's Constitutional Court took effect in June 2013 (where same-sex civil unions have been legal since 2007). On 13 April 2015, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed her country’s new civil unions bill into law (a law which will go into effect from 13 October). In August, a host of new non-discrimination measures will be implemented into Bolivia's family code, leading to the possibility of same-sex civil unions there. In March 2015, government-initiated legislation was introduced into Costa Rica's legislature to legalize same-sex civil unions. In January 2015, a lawsuit for the right to marry was filed before Venezuela's Supreme Court.

    Negatively, in March, lawmakers in Peru rejected a civil unions measure that gay Congressman Carlos Bruce had introduced. Plus, lawmakers in El Salvador last week approved a series of proposed constitutional reforms that would ban same-sex couples from marrying and adopting children. A similar prohibition just took effect in Nicaragua earlier in April.

  • 49. Christian0811  |  April 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Too bad any repeal of the anti-gay amendments in the Ecuadorean constitution is decades off with less than 20% currently supporting equal marriage and parenting rights. I hope there will be an appeal to the Inter-American Court in Human Rights regarding those provisions. If nothing else, an adverse ruling to the constitution would strip the bigotry naked for the world to see.

  • 50. VIRick  |  April 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    "…. strip the bigotry naked …."

    In Latin America (with the exception of southern Mexico, most of Central America and the Dominican Republic), bigotry tends to be reserved for other issues. When it comes to LGBT matters, casual ignorance and/or lack of interest would be the more likely terms, as serious opposition is rather weak (note the 89-1 vote), and is without excess drama.

    The most Euro-centric countries of South America all have marriage equality. We're now working through those that are far less Euro-centric, and where, based on recent practice, baby-steps seems to be the mode. Unlike the USA, in Latin America, LGBT rights are often tied together with women's rights. Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica are four examples where this is so. Also, unlike the USA, the rights and benefits usually associated with marriage are often being granted to established couples (hetero or same-sex) without the necessity of producing a formal marriage license.

    By establishing gender-neutral de facto civil unions, the result benefits several distinct groupings within the population. Many of these countries have a high poverty rate where it has been the practice, for example, for working-class hetero couples to simply begin living together,– no rights, no recognition,– nothing. And in particular, no benefits for the stay-at-home partner (usually the woman). By extending government recognition to such partnerships after 3 years in Colombia, 2 years in Ecuador, and 2 years in Costa Rica, the rights of the women involved are greatly improved. And by keeping the language gender-neutral, LGBT couples simultaneously benefit (which is why the new gender-neutral language in Bolivia will be so important). Ecuador is now dropping the 2-year live-together requirement on its gender-neutral civil union requirement, the registration of which, at the local civil registry, is still optional.

    Also, public opinion in these countries means a lot less than one might think. It's strictly up to the legislators and assorted government officials to do what is legally-required or legally-allowed. Ecuador's new constitution, approved by the voters in 2008, was considered very advanced and quite forward-thinking at the time, particularly bearing in mind that the country was on the verge of exploding, collapsing, or both. But, yes, it's already out-dated, a point which shows just how fast a country even like Ecuador is moving..

  • 51. F_Young  |  April 25, 2015 at 3:24 am

    VIRick: "…. strip the bigotry naked …." In Latin America…

    Thanks for your insights on this, Rick. I don't know anywhere else I could get that.

  • 52. ianbirmingham  |  April 25, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Agreed – EoT is a "crowdsourced expertise" site & VIRick certainly has the Latin America region comprehensively analyzed. Well done!!

  • 53. VIRick  |  April 26, 2015 at 8:48 am

    You guys are too kind!!

  • 54. Christian0811  |  April 25, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Thanks VIRick! So do you think constitutional change is on the horizon sooner than I thought? Will those provisions be repealed within the next decade perhaps?

  • 55. VIRick  |  April 25, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    I can't foretell the future, but I doubt if any major constitutional change is on the immediate horizon in Ecuador. Instead, as we're seeing with the latest legislation, they can skirt around the precise language of Article 67 of Ecuador's constitution by extending all marriage benefits to (gender-neutral) civil union couples, thereby offering those same multiple marriage benefits to both LGBT same-sex couples AND unmarried hetero couples wherein which the stay-at-home partner previously had nothing,– no recognition, no benefits, no protections.

    The English translation of the very next article, Article 68 of Ecuador's Constitution, states:

    "The stable and monogamous union between two persons, free of matrimonial bond, who form a de facto couple, for the duration and under the conditions and circumstances that the law provides, will generate the same rights and obligations as held by families built through marriage. Adoption will pertain only to couples of different sexes."

    Non-discrimination is an important concept throughout Latin America, and is one being pushed quite strongly by women's rights groups (where hetero divorce, until quite recently, was still a hot-button issue). And women, being half the population, have become a major force for change. Note how many countries have recently had (or still currently have) female presidents.

    And then there are ethno/racial divides where previously disadvantaged groups (think non-Euro, whether Native American or Afro) are also pushing for equality. So, as an all-inclusive feature, if any new non-discrimination legislation is kept gender-neutral, it not only covers women's rights, and that of previously disadvantaged groups, it also rightly covers LGBT couples.

    Ecuador has moved fast on all of these issues. In the meantime, I'm keenly awaiting the implementation of the new gender-neutral family code changes in Bolivia this August (where LGBT individuals can now openly serve in the Bolivian Army, and whose constitution, implemented in February 2009, already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and where civil unions will soon be recognized), given that they, too, have an actual constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but where non-discrimination, at all levels, has become the driving force.

    The official text of Article 14(II) of Bolivia's Constitution:

    "El Estado prohíbe y sanciona toda forma de discriminación fundada en razón de sexo, color, edad, orientación sexual, identidad de género, origen, cultura, nacionalidad, ciudadanía, idioma, credo religioso, ideología, filiación política o filosófica, estado civil, condición económica o social, tipo de ocupación, grado de instrucción, discapacidad, embarazo, u otras que tengan por objetivo o resultado anular o menoscabar el reconocimiento, goce o ejercicio, en condiciones de igualdad, de los derechos de toda persona."

    It's refreshing to pause a moment to realize that an RFRA-type law in South America would be a complete non-starter.

  • 56. F_Young  |  April 26, 2015 at 2:38 am

    VIRick: "Non-discrimination is an important concept throughout Latin America…

    I didn't realize that. It's very encouraging.

    VIRick: "…and is one being pushed quite strongly by women's rights groups (where hetero divorce, until quite recently, was still a hot-button issue). And women, being half the population, have become a major force for change."

    This too is encouraging. Indeed, I don't think it is possible for a society to protect LGBT rights until women's rights are protected. In many countries (Africa, Islamic), US foreign policy and local LGBTs should focus on women's rights; focusing on LGBTs would likely provoke a backlash.

    VIRick: "…..I'm keenly awaiting the implementation of the new gender-neutral family code changes in Bolivia this August (where LGBT individuals can now openly serve in the Bolivian Army, and whose constitution, implemented in February 2009, already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and where civil unions will soon be recognized), given that they, too, have an actual constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but where non-discrimination, at all levels, has become the driving force."

    I didn't realize that. Again, it's hopeful.

    Thanks again, Rick, for sharing your knowledge and insights into what is happening in Latin America. I really appreciate it.

  • 57. VIRick  |  April 26, 2015 at 8:41 am

    According to Bolivia's constitution, were you able to count the ways in which discrimination is prohibited? I count 20, with the final one being a catch-all which covers anything else they might have failed to enumerate.

    "Sex" is #1, "color" is #2, "sexual orientation" is #4, and "gender identity" is #5, so that covers women's rights, Native American rights, and LGBT rights, in that order, right at the top of the list. And this in a country which, until quite recently, had been a near "basket case." To put it more bluntly, they've finally given up on the old, tired, narrow definition of only allowing white, upper-crust males to rule. Ecuador went through this crisis a few years earlier, and now, Bolivia appears to be right on the cusp.

  • 58. F_Young  |  April 25, 2015 at 3:26 am

    VIRick: "Ecuador's Legislature Approves Expanded Civil Unions Bill"

    Thanks for compiling this, Rick. It's really helpful.

  • 59. F_Young  |  April 23, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Off-topic: Ducey angrily revokes Arizona policy blocking gay adoptions

    Just a week after Gov. Doug Ducey vigorously advocated for more adoptions regardless of the parents sexual preference, he found he had to overturn a state policy blocking gay adoptions.

    Ducey issued an order late Wednesday voiding a Department of Child Safety policy of refusing to certify legally married gay couples for adoption or permitting them to jointly be foster parents.

    A spokesman for the governor said he just learned about the policy earlier Wednesday.

  • 60. Rick55845  |  April 24, 2015 at 2:53 am

    The link you posted is about Georgia attorney general Sam Olens. Good news, but not related to Ducey's action in Arizona regarding adoption by same-sex parents.

    Here is one relevant article:

  • 61. F_Young  |  April 24, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Rick55845: "The link you posted is about Georgia…"

    Yes, sorry about that. The story has since been retitled and edited and now appears at the link that you posted:

  • 62. DrBriCA  |  April 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    The plaintiffs in the Guam case got married this month in San Diego, CA. I wonder how this will impact their lawsuit now that they have a marriage license. Their case was initially against the territory for not licensing them (and they requested expedited judgment since every day that they are denied the right to marry, it is an irreparable injury). Now they have the license, so this initial claim of injustice no longer holds for them.

    If anything, I wonder if they now have to ask the territorial government to recognize the new marriage, and once the same dept heads and governor refuse, they could then amend the lawsuit to include marriage recognition.

  • 63. VIRick  |  April 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    DrBri, wait!

    With respect to marriages from other jurisdictions, in a very gender-neutral manner, Guam's statute says:

    "All marriages contracted outside of the territory of Guam, which would be valid by the laws of the country in which the same were contracted, are valid in the territory of Guam."

    So, Guam recognizes their marriage, given that it was legally-performed in California. In fact, having carefully noted this same wording, Wikipedia very recently added Guam (along with Missouri and Alabama) as states recognizing same-sex marriages legally-performed in other jurisdictions.

  • 64. DrBriCA  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Interesting. That still goes back to my initial question… Can the lawsuit continue now that the plaintiffs have sought relief elsewhere and are now married?

  • 65. VIRick  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    If the plaintiff couple is now married in another jurisdiction, their original complaint is moot, and could only be amended if Guam were to refuse to recognize their California marriage.

    I just checked the Wikipedia page again, and it's unclear at this moment, whether or not Guam has ever previously dealt with the recognition issue (with a different couple). Perhaps temporarily, but a result, Wikipedia has already removed Guam from the "recognition" list until a proven track record of some sort can be verified.

  • 66. FredDorner  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Note that a similar thing happened in 1970 in Alabama in US v Brittain, where a mixed-race couple had sued the state for the right to marry because the state refused to acknowledge that their anti-miscegenation laws had been struck down by Loving v Virginia. The couple ended up marrying out of state before the case was resolved, but the federal judge ruled anyway because he was so pissed by the state's attempt at nullification. He noted that another couple would face the same problem unless he ruled. I think as a technical matter the DOJ or the DOD was party to the case, which allowed it to continue even though it was moot.

  • 67. VIRick  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    "…. as a technical matter the DOJ or the DOD was party to the case, which allowed it to continue even though it was moot."

    The Dept. of Defense initiated the suit, given that one of the plaintiffs was an active-duty member of the US Army, and then handed off the case to the Dept. of Justice to continue pursuing the prosecution.

  • 68. FredDorner  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks – somehow I thought the couple had initiated the case and the DOD got involved later. Either way, the judge was clearly pissed in his ruling.

  • 69. Steve84  |  April 24, 2015 at 4:11 am

    But you can bet your life savings that someone will ignore that and say that they aren't married after all.

    If anything it's still a hassle when dealing with all kinds of people who won't know about that law.

  • 70. Zack12  |  April 24, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Same with people that tell us we can simply draw up contracts, wills etc in lieu of marriage without knowing how much that costs and that it doesn't always work in some cases and simply can't in others.

  • 71. A_Jayne  |  April 24, 2015 at 6:10 am

    " without knowing how much that costs and that it doesn't always work" — and certainly never acknowledging that requiring such of only a subset of couples doesn't reflect equality in any sense of the word.

    Which, of course, is their issue – they refuse to see us as equal humans with equally valid attractions and relationships.

    They failed to learn the lesson of "sharing" in kindergarten; in their best 5-year-old voices, they keep whining, "No, it's mine. You can't have it."

  • 72. RnL2008  |  April 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I had a coworker a few years back before marriages were allowed here in California, she and her wife actually drew up a legal partnership that had like over 1500 pages of everything they could think to cover and it was really expensive. I want to say they paid like over a couple of thousand dollars for this legal partnership……when at the time a marriage license in most counties here in California run somewhere between 60 and 100 dollars.

  • 73. F_Young  |  April 24, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Ted Cruz Introduces Bills to Stop Gay Marriage

    Cruz's legislation would establish a constitutional amendment shielding states that define marriage as between one woman and one man from legal action, according to bill language obtained by Bloomberg News.

    A second bill would bar federal courts from further weighing in on the marriage issue until such an amendment is adopted.

    Ted Cruz Is Guest of Two Gay Businessmen

    …..The dinner and “fireside chat” for about a dozen people with Mr. Cruz and his wife, Heidi, was at the Central Park South penthouse of Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner, longtime business partners who were once a couple and who have been pioneers in the gay hospitality industry.

    “Ted Cruz said, ‘If one of my daughters was gay, I would love them just as much,’” recalled Mr. Reisner, a same-sex marriage proponent who described himself as simply an attendee at Mr. Weiderpass’s event.

    .Mr. Reisner and Kalman Sporn, who advises Mr. Cruz’s Middle East team and served as the moderator for the evening, said the senator told the group that marriage should be left up to the states. The evening focused primarily on foreign policy, including a discussion of gay rights in Israel versus the rest of the Middle East, and opposition to President Obama.

    …..Mr. Cruz also told the group that Peter Thiel, an openly gay investor, is a close friend of his, Mr. Sporn said. Mr. Thiel has been a generous contributor to Mr. Cruz’s campaigns.

    …..Mr. Reisner and Mr. Weiderpass have been generous donors to gay political causes and charities, including the Empire State Pride Agenda and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.

  • 74. guitaristbl  |  April 24, 2015 at 8:27 am

    The first one hardly surprises me.
    It only enhances my disgust for the NYC elitist uncle toms in the 2nd article. The businesses these men own should be duly noted and ignored accordingly from LGBT people since it seems clear that their money may be ending up in Cruz's pockets for his campaign to impose his agenda.

    "Mr. Reisner, asked about the possible dissonance between his gay activism and being at an event for Mr. Cruz, said he did not agree with the senator on social issues. Same-sex marriage, he said, “is done — it’s just going to happen.”"

    Oh the certainty of the elite living in its liberal enclaves, not caring for anyone but themselves..No dear, as long as you fill the pockets of people who could strip rights from thousands of people who recently got them through courts and keeping them away from them for as long as it takes for Arkansas and Texas etc to decide to come to the 21st century by themselves (the next century will already have kicked in till that happens…), nothing is done. But hey whatever suits you right ?
    Bigots are disgusting…Gay people supporting those bigots though are even worse..

  • 75. VIRick  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    "No dear, …."


  • 76. F_Young  |  April 26, 2015 at 2:57 am

    More blowback for gay businessmen who hosted Ted Cruz

    Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an AIDS fundraising nonprofit prominent in the New York City theater community, announced it would be canceling its fundraiser scheduled for next month at 42West, a nightclub owned by Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner.

    …..Earlier this year, Reisner hosted a fundraiser for Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who also opposes same-sex marriage…..

  • 77. F_Young  |  April 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Gay businessmen apologize for co-hosting Ted Cruz event

    …..“I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days,” Ian Reisner, one of the hoteliers, wrote on Facebook. “I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights.” …..

    Can they really be that dumb? Really?

  • 78. Rick55845  |  April 27, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I doubt they can be that dumb. Sounds more like damage control to me. For my part, I hope Reisner's and Weiderpass' goose is cooked for sleeping with the enemy. And Cruz is not just an enemy, but one of the worst of them all.

  • 79. F_Young  |  April 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I think they need to donate some serious money, or sponsor a huge fundraiser, for pro-gay politicians or groups, like yesterday.

  • 80. VIRick  |  April 27, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I wouldn't waste the time in takes to walk across the street to spit on Cruz, so to even contemplate allowing him entrance into my home is just nuts.

  • 81. Eric  |  April 27, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    It's not a donation when the money comes out of the marketing budget.

  • 82. DeadHead  |  April 27, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    This is a common problem, a large number of voting Republicans have no idea that their own party holds them in contempt and that they are voting against their better interests.

    How could any American lgbtq adult in this day and age not know about Ted Cruz's position on same sex marriage and other lgbtq issues?

    I think these two men knew about Cruz and like other wealthy self loathing gay republicans, only care about their money, getting tax breaks and not much else.

  • 83. VIRick  |  April 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Look, these guys own 80% of the commercial property on Fire Island, and operate a sparkling, up-scale "out" hotel/resort in Manhattan. So, they're directly profiting from a number of major businesses geared toward the gay market. For them to take any of their profit and even consider using it to make a donation to Cruz's campaign is an act of callous ignorance which can not be forgiven. Period. Their gay-oriented business ventures deserve to collapse (via a stringent, long-lasting boycott) so they no longer have any profit to give away to the enemy. After that, they can volunteer to work at the teen LGBT homeless shelter.

    They need to learn the hard way: Bitter Queens make for Mean Bitches.

  • 84. F_Young  |  April 27, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    VIRick: "Their gay-oriented business ventures deserve to collapse (via a stringent, long-lasting boycott)"

    Bankrupting them wouldn't help us. I'd rather they were forced to rehabilitate their reputation by donating a good chunk of money and by using their properties for LGBT causes. Supporting pro-gay politicians and homeless LGBT youth would be good.ways to earn our respect and business again. Instead of merely volunteering for homeless LGBT youth, they could donate a building or two to house LGBT shelters.

    I cannot actually believe they did not know Cruz' anti-gay record. I assume they didn't care about it since they assume that their wealth gives them all the rights they could ever need, and they don't care about anybody else.

    In my opinion, the only thing they actually did not know is that their get-together would make the news even if they could count on the major LGBT groups to keep quiet about it because they donate to them.

    They probably saw this as an opportunity to get some business from the Republican Party, the federal government and the Israel lobby.

  • 85. RemC_Chicago  |  April 27, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    If they're as active in politics as they claim, it's hard to believe they could be that ignorant of Cruz's record.

  • 86. F_Young  |  April 24, 2015 at 1:36 am

    How Wall Street came out on gay marriage

    Twenty-eight of the country's biggest financial firms had made an unprecedented show of unity in support of gay marriage by urging the court to strike down state laws banning same-sex unions.

    That was double the number that signed on to a similar effort in 2013, signaling how the traditionally conservative financial industry has come to publicly embrace gay rights.

    …..Maury and others involved in the campaign said the main obstacle to winning the banks' support was bureaucratic rather than any opposition to gay marriage.

    The effort in 2013 to sign Wall Street firms up to that year’s brief was an ad hoc move led by Maury. This time there were weekly meetings and a spreadsheet that showed the status of each firm.

    Their challenge was to get approval from different departments, including legal and public affairs, before chief executives made the final decision by the March 6 deadline.

    …..Nine Wall Street companies that are members of Open Finance did not sign the brief. Seven were foreign firms and some said they were not asked to join.

  • 87. RemC_Chicago  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I spoke to the political reporter for the Lansing MI newspaper about the case of Bruce Morgan and Brian Merucci. I pointed out that the New York Daily News had written about it, but couldn't find anything in the Michigan paper about it. The guy I spoke to explained that this kind of story was more likely to be picked up by the Detroit Free Press (owned by the same company) and said he would reach out to his colleagues about the story. I pointed out that, while the Governor can hide behind the uncertain status of ME in MI, there is still the option of a humane response. I told the reporter that what I want to know is, what does the Governor gain from not helping? We shall see.

  • 88. Raga  |  April 24, 2015 at 10:14 am

    And as usual, nobody will appeal a denial of stay up to the Supreme Court, even in such dire circumstances. I've given up hope that it will ever happen. Two more months…

  • 89. guitaristbl  |  April 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

    The boycotts for mr. Weiderpass's establishments in NYC have already started btw :

    And the facebook group is already at 3000 likes and it exists less than a day and the issue became widely known today :

  • 90. RemC_Chicago  |  April 24, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I just posted a complaint on the Face The Nation Facebook page about their selection of Tony Perkins in Sunday's debate with Evan Wolfson. I don't know if they're deliberately trying to expose Tony Perkins as the unhinged individual he is, but given prior circumstances, it seems unlikely they'll call him out on his hate crusade. If you're so inclined, the link is below. Be respectful, be reasonable, but please consider posting your objections.

    Here's what I wrote:

    PLEASE at least identify Tony Perkins on the air as someone who is not merely against same-sex marriage, but a person with prior connections to the KKK (via David Duke) who campaigns vigorously against gay people, calling them intrinsically evil, disgusting and immoral; comparing same-sex marriage to horse-man marriage; gay soldiers as devastating to the country as kidnappers and the Aurora shooter…This is not like pitting two respectable representatives of differing viewpoints against each other in a debate. When he sidesteps marriage equality as being a civil issue, ask him if he thinks he speaks for all Christians, regardless of denomination. Challenge him on that. If he claims he does, if he relies on the Bible, ask him to quote chapter and verse of when Jesus said anything about gay people. (Answer: it doesn't exist because he didn't say anything).

  • 91. F_Young  |  April 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Gay marriage is ready to be legal across America. The culture war is far from over.

    …..Steven Thrasher meets three very historic couples – still facing discrimination in three very different places – to reflect on a watershed experiment.

    … estimated 180,000 same-sex couples got married legally in America last year.

    …..Since Massachusetts broke the barrier more than a decade ago, same-sex marriage has become legal in 37 US states. Simultaneously, so-called "religious freedom" laws have swept across 21 states, poking loopholes in existing state and local discrimination protections against LGBT individuals – if such protections exist at all./I>

    …..Just as a major civil-rights movement was sweeping the US, mostly from the west and the northeast, three contradictory political processes were aiming to make sure that discriminating against LGBT people stays constitutional, mostly across the southern Bible belt:"

    Since 1993, 20 state legislatures have enacted a series of so-called “religious freedom” restoration acts…

    …..Racial justice has been misconstrued to be at odds with LGBT rights.

    …..The rise of marriage equality sucked money and energy from other LGBT causes such as the resurging healthcare crises of HIV/Aids and ageing, the epidemic of homeless teens, the history of children being taken from queer parents, and the legal continuation of so-called “conversion therapy” for young people in 48 states.

  • 92. ianbirmingham  |  April 25, 2015 at 5:44 am

    Corrected link here:

    …When Shanté Wolf-Sisson, 21, and Tori Wolfe-Sisson, 24, got married on 9 February, they knew it was both historic and risky: Here was the first lesbian couple to wed in Alabama, breaking through in a state where marriage is still not fully legal, in the middle of a weeks-long saga: an outspoken state judge was trying to stop same-sex marriages, even after the US supreme court had allowed them to proceed.

    The couple arrived early at a probate office in Montgomery, hoping to beat the rush.

    But nobody else showed up, Shanté said in an interview with her wife from their home the next month, and “nobody was coming behind us to camp out”. The most famous newlyweds in Alabama history had a rather low-key wedding day, despite being all over the news.

    The simple reason they were alone and in love, she said, is that being out in the south can come with serious consequences – if not at the courthouse, then certainly at the workplace….

    At a job interview in February after she got married, Shanté says a prospective employer told her the company was “desperate” to hire and that she could potentially start immediately. Then they got to talking – “You just look familiar to me,” she remembers the hiring manager saying – and by the time the woman had come back from fetching some paperwork with another employee, Shanté says things changed.

    “I believe what happened was the employee said, ‘Well, that’s the one who got married in Alabama,’” Shanté remembers. “So when she came back, our interaction was totally different. She was just like: ‘Well, we’ll pull applications in a month or so. We’ll give you a call.’”

    A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2013 – as Congress was taking up an employee protection act, since scrubbed after a supreme court ruling that entered more religious protections nationwide – found 21% of adult LGBT respondents reporting direct workplace discrimination.

    But even after Obama forbade federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees in 2014, only 19 US states have legal civil-rights protections for them – mostly in the west, upper midwest and northeast. Despite a longtime push from activists to update the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the words “sexual orientation and gender identity” do not appear in it. Today, in 29 states, it is not against the law for a person to lose her job for being gay….

  • 93. 1grod  |  April 26, 2015 at 8:17 am

    F_ CULTURE WAR FAR FROM OVER – With 545 Alabama celebrations during the 21 days prior to last March 4 and with x number of out-of state marriages also recognized, and with Judge C Granade likely to rule before May 4 on the merits of Strawser v Stange, you would think AG L. Strange and Gov R. Bentley wouldn't have expressed their views to the US Supreme Court: NO [was I kidding myself?]: Bentley's brief, submitted by attorney Algert Agricola.states in part – "By contrast to marriage, same-sex "marriage" is a social experiment, a recent product of positive law. Its purpose is to affirm the sexual desires and choices of adults," … "This experiment threatens to obscure the natural rights and duties of marriage and parentage by communicating the message that only bigots think that children should be connected to both their father and their mother. And it imposes other costs on States and their citizens, especially the loss of religious liberty and other freedoms to distinguish between marriage and non-marital relations."

  • 94. Pbrover  |  April 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Question for the EOT commentators,

    What is in your opinion the best media outlets to hear or read the best commentary regarding the oral arguments next Tuesday?
    Please share what you would suggest as the best resources, other than EOT of course:

    My plan of action:
    Start around 6 AM Pacific Standard Time to read or hear about thoughts going into the Court.
    7AM, oral arguments start.
    At around 10 PM what is the best place to hear or read commentary?
    I will be doing a Google news search sorted by date, then go to SCOTUS blog, EOT, and CNN, Huffington post.
    In the afternoon I understand that audio will be posted at Supreme Court site.
    That evening I will listen to the EOT chatroom, then watch Rachael Maddow on MSNBC.
    What are you planning?

  • 95. guitaristbl  |  April 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    The only resource I would suggest is SCOTUSblog. It's the closest you can get to the actual news and proceedings, they offer valuable, objective insight and usually host symposiums on such cases with many authors providing their opinions on each case, how oral arguments went, analyzing the decisions etc.
    Lyle, a long time SCOTUS reporter, usually provides great analyses on there as well, most recently analyzing the arguments of both sides of the argument and the amici each side attracted.

    I won't bother with anything else most probably on Tuesday. No one else (CNN, Huff etc) won't tell you anything more than what SCOTUSblog will report from what happens in court.
    They will probably have some out-of-the-court reactions and interviews but it will be the typical stuff most likely.
    HRC and Freedom to Marry will have some updates on social media, which I will also follow as well personally.

  • 96. A_Jayne  |  April 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    The SCOTUS will not only post the oral argument audio, but the transcripts, too. After the Windsor and PropH8 hearing, I listened while reading along. It was very informative and interesting.

    Before the release of audio, SCOTUSblog will get my attention as will EoT, presuming Scottie will be posting shortly after. Scottie?

  • 97. RemC_Chicago  |  April 25, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Yep, Scottie's gonna be there. Pbrover, both recommendation are spot on. I couldn't get enough with Perry & Windsor, so followed trusted Twitter sources to make me feel connected.

  • 98. aiislander  |  April 24, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Somewhat off topic, but have you all seen the speaker and "honored guests" list for NOM's "'March for Marriage" this weekend?

    Brian Brown is promising "hundreds" of busloads. LOL

    While I'm hoping it will be an even bigger bust than last year's fiasco, the list is rather interesting in the total absence of ANY national political figures… (I mean at least they had a few last year)….:
    here's the list:

    Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz of New York
    Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, The Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United States of America and The Organization of American States
    Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
    Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore
    Most Reverend John Joseph McIntyre, Titular Bishop of Bononia and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Philadelphia
    Rev. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, CA
    Reverend Brandon B. Porter, Prelate of the Tennessee Central Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ
    Josh Duggar, Executive Director of FRC Action
    Tom Minnery, President & CEO of CitizenLink
    Jennifer A. Marshall, Vice President for The Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity, The Heritage Foundation
    Reverend Bill Owens, Founder and President of the Coalition of African American Pastors
    Cathy Ruse, Family Research Council
    Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
    Carlos Luis Vargas Silva, Founder and President, Central Biblico Internacional
    Reverend Father Johannes Jacobse, Founder of the American Orthodox Institute and Pastor, Saint Peter Orthodox Church in Bonita Springs, FL
    John Eastman, Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage
    Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage

    Nothin but the usual suspects. Hope lots of counter-protesters are there!!

  • 99. Eric  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    The usual hate whores.

  • 100. SoCal_Dave  |  April 24, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    What? No one from Westboro or the KKK?

  • 101. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 24, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I'm SO SO excited about SCOTUS oral arguments starting this week!!!

  • 102. F_Young  |  April 24, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Gay marriage pioneer, free from skeptics, prepares for Supreme Court

    "We're dealing with real people who truly have committed to one another," says Bonauto, who is married to law professor Jennifer Wriggins, with whom she is raising 13-year-old twin daughters in Portland, Me.

    That has been her strategy since the early 1990s, when she first got involved in the same-sex marriage movement in Hawaii: to humanize gay and lesbian couples.

    …..Susan Murray, one of the Vermont lawyers who recruited Bonauto for her expertise, recalls her attention to detail.

    "She's the most thorough person I know," Murray says.

    …..As one of three lawyers who will argue against the bans at the high court — alongside Douglas Hallward-Driemeier and U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli — she is preparing around the clock, including four moot court sessions.

    …..Says Buseck: "There isn't anyone in the country who knows more and who has lived longer with the marriage issue than Mary. She's been at this issue from the inception."

  • 103. F_Young  |  April 24, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Meet the lawyers who will argue the gay marriage case

    When a same sex couple turned to Mary L. Bonauto about 20 years ago for legal help to get married, the lawyer declined to take the case.

    "Her sense was that we weren't quite ready for that yet," said Gary Buseck, the legal director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and a longtime friend and colleague of Bonauto. "Mary's thought was that there were a number of legal building blocks yet to be put in place before such a claim should be brought."

    …..Bonauto, 53, lives in Maine with her spouse, Jennifer Wriggins, and their two children. She has never appeared before the Supreme Court, but has worked on some of the biggest gay marriage cases at the lower court level.

    …..Bonauto and her team developed a strategy to combine litigation, public education and legislative initiatives to target the issue on a state-by-state basis.


    Her opponent will be John J. Bursch, Michigan's former solicitor general, who will argue on behalf of the states.

    ….."This case is not about how to define marriage, that's a debate that will continue," he said in an interview. "It's about who decides. Is it the people through the democratic process where this issue has always been decided, or is it the courts?


    ….."They have compelling stories," Hallward-Driemeier said "and conveying to the Court what it means to have one's marriage, one's family, disregarded or even nullified as a legal matter, is something that should speak very loudly to the justices, many of whom are themselves married."

    …..Although he has never argued a gay marriage case, he has appeared before the justices 15 times and has filed more than 150 briefs. The experience, he said, taught him to craft his arguments in a way that will resonate with the justices.

    …..Deanne E. Maynard, who worked with him at the solicitor general's office, said he's developed the ability to get his point across succinctly and quickly, because the Roberts Court is known to be a "hot bench" with questions often coming with rapid-fire speed.


    …..A native of Massachusetts and a 1985 graduate of Boston University School of Law, Whalen has worked in some capacity in the Tennessee attorney general's office since 1999 where he handled hundreds of briefs and appellate arguments in state appellate courts.

  • 104. RemC_Chicago  |  April 25, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Bursch's quote is revealing in his point about who gets to "define" marriage. Raise your hand if you think marriage equality is about redefining marriage. Anyone? No? Oh, well…Got any other ideas, Mr. B? No? Oh, well…

  • 105. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 24, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Breaking: American Approval Of Same-Sex Marriage Breaks All-Time Record

  • 106. Flamel4Paris  |  April 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Judge Granade rules against the Motions to Dismiss, according to BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed also has the rulings to download.

    "This matter is before the court on the motions of Defendant Don Davis and Defendant Tim Russell to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (Docs. 103, 108), and Plaintiffs’ opposition (Docs. 106, 110). For the reasons explained below, the court finds that the motions to dismiss are due to be denied."

    "This matter is before the court on the motion of Defendant Luther Strange to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b) (Doc. 101), and Plaintiffs’ opposition (Doc. 105). For the reasons explained below, the court finds that Strange’s motion to dismiss should be denied."

  • 107. VIRick  |  April 24, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Here's how the full (en banc) 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules, in a decision just handed down on 24 April 2015:

    Among other things, this ruling is a slap in the face at the government of Mexico who assisted the family of the dead teen in suing in US Federal Court.

  • 108. almostfamous734  |  April 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Damn. This is disturbing.

  • 109. anjelina345  |  April 24, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    this is an amazing information google and should be appreciated

  • 110. F_Young  |  April 25, 2015 at 4:28 am

    On eve of Supreme Court arguments, judge refuses to dismiss Alabama gay marriage lawsuit

    A lawsuit seeking to force all Alabama probate judges to grant marriage licenses to gay couples can continue, a federal judge in Mobile ruled Friday.

    U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. "Ginny" Granade, however, did not address the question of whether the lawsuit can proceed as a class action. That would entitle the plaintiffs to represent all gay couples wishing to marry in the state of Alabama. And it would make all probate judges defendants…..

  • 111. 1grod  |  April 25, 2015 at 5:58 am

    F_: Class Action Suite likely –… and
    Regarding the argument of Judge T Russell of Baldwin Co that the plaintiffs lack the ability to sue him because he merely told a couple over the phone that he would not issue a marriage license was denied. "Whether they were informed of this fact over the phone or in person makes no difference." Judge Russell is only an essential party if the motion to amend Strawser v Strange to include all probate judges as a class of defendants is to be granted because he is the putative proxy judge for the other 66 (excluding Don Davis of Mobile Co, who together with AG L. Strange are the defendants in the original suite). In a separate ruling, keeping the AG as a defendant is necessary to ensure 'recognition' of marriages undertaken. Granade dismisses the AL Supreme Court's decision as having no import as no one seeking marriage were a party in that case, and the federal ruling of being unconstitutional was first. It's probable the judge will now rule of the 'motion to amend' and reach to the merits at the same time. When will the other shoe drop? April 24 article on including AL among ssm states wrong – may still prove premature:

  • 112. 1grod  |  April 25, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Grande uses AL Supremes' judgment [Ex parte State ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute, 2015 – p 4 & 8] to refute Davis & Russell's argument on immunity: discussing and referring to the probate judges’ 'ministerial act of licensing marriages'. "Neither Davis nor Russell is charged with discretion or judgment in carrying out this ministerial duty" (p 6). In your face Chief Justice Roy Stewart Moore!

  • 113. FredDorner  |  April 25, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Based on the two rulings issued yesterday I suspect Judge Granade will drop the other shoe this coming week and apply her original pro-equality ruling statewide.

    A very important part of the Davis/Russell ruling which was missed in the reporting is that Judge Granade found that the issuance of marriage licenses is a ministerial duty (ie clerical), not a judicial duty, and thus none of the probate judges have judicial immunity and they're liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. That means they're also liable in their official capacities for civil penalties under that statute which will be quite costly to the counties which employ them. While the plaintiffs weren't seeking monetary compensation, all the attorneys fees for both sides will ultimately be borne by the counties.

    The key section which reveals how the court will likely rule is in section H: "Plaintiffs were not party to the state-court mandamus proceeding. As such, Plaintiffs are not bound by the conclusions of the Alabama Supreme Court. A mandamus proceeding in a state court against state officials to enforce a challenged statute does not bar injunctive relief in a United States District Court."

  • 114. 1grod  |  April 25, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Fred – thank you for providing these clarification on significance of Judge Granade's findings. I also noted that she ensnared AG Strange in what he said in the Northern District Court – casting a wide net in her references: "Strange admitted in a Northern District case that he .'maintains enforcement authority regarding the Alabama Marriage Prohibitions and their application to conduct of the State and its subdivisions and court system' Aaron-Bush v. Strange, Case No. 1:14-cv-01091-RDP (N.D. Ala.) (Docs. 1, ¶ 18; Doc. 13, 18)".

  • 115. 1grod  |  April 27, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Where all of the 6 Alabama cases stand: Hard v. Bentley, Searcy v. Strange, Aaron-Brush v. Bentley, Strawser v. Strange, Hedgepeth v. Bentley, and Searcy v. Davis. I would add Ex parte State of Alabama v King by the AL Supreme Court.

  • 116. RemC_Chicago  |  April 25, 2015 at 8:48 am

    This petition about Perkins' Face the Nation appearance got 20,000 signatures in 24 hours. It won't cause Perkins to be cancelled but it might send a message to the producers of what they should consider as preparations for the show continue:

  • 117. EricKoszyk  |  April 27, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Did you see this? The petition worked. He was asked about it on Face the Nation.

    Good job!

  • 118. RemC_Chicago  |  April 27, 2015 at 7:32 am

    I was THRILLED. There were postings on the Face the Nation Facebook page as well. I shouldn't have been shocked to hear him twist the facts of the GoFundMe page to suit his purposes, blaming gay activists for closing it down (the account was disabled by GoFundMe because their terms prohibit support for someone who's broken the law), and gasped when he denied having agreed that the SCOTUS judges should be impeached—he said so last Thursday. And on Friday, he called for civil disobedience if the Court rules in our favor. I also watched George Stephanopolous interview Chad Griffin and Ryan Anderson. It was a quick, sound-bite kind of interview, with Anderson appearing like he's nothing more than a reasonable fellow who politely disagrees with Chad—-rather than someone who supports the right to marry to gays as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. I hope that in the future, as our battles continue—and they will—that these people are characterized as the extremists that they are.

  • 119. DeadHead  |  April 25, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Technology Councils of North America Calls for Federal Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBT Individuals

    In light of the growing number of state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) with discriminatory potential, the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) is calling for federal legislation that affords non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. TECNA, which represents more than 50 IT and technology state-based trade organizations with over 22,000 technology-related member companies in North America, supports federal recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under existing civil rights laws.

    TECNA believes religious freedom and nondiscrimination can co-exist but RFRAs are unnecessary. Although many states have RFRAs with built-in or companion legislation prohibiting discrimination, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has identified religious refusal bills with discriminatory potential on the 2015 legislative agenda of 23 states, spurring the need to speak out against RFRAs and advocate for federal legislation to ensure equal protection across all states.

    A recent RFRA bill in Indiana that was worded to allow private discrimination against LGBT Americans before it was amended due to outcry from the national business community is the latest example. An analogous bill was passed in Arizona's Legislature last year but was later vetoed by former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer — due in part to pressure from the Arizona Technology Council, a TECNA member.

    "As technologists, we are the architects of the future," said TECNA chairman Steven G. Zylstra, who is also president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. "And we firmly believe in a future where no one loses their job or housing because of whom they are or whom they love. To ensure that all hardworking Americans enjoy freedom and equality, we call on the federal government to protect all LGBT citizens from discrimination and we announce that we are not in support of states adopting RFRAs. That's why we led the effort to rally businesses to oppose Arizona SB 1062 in 2014."

    TECNA profoundly objects to any discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as the technology sector it supports is enriched daily by the efforts and innovations of LGBT workers.

    "A technology business in North Carolina should be able to court the same accomplished talent as one in California," said Brooks Raiford, board member and policy chairman of TECNA. "RFRAs could render entire states unwelcoming to gifted technology workers. Such bills are bad for business and bad for workforce development."

    TECNA invites all other technology groups and companies to join their fellow technology leaders to personally contact their local representatives and staff in opposition of any pending anti-LBGT legislation, including RFRAs. TECNA also encourages all technology leaders to advocate for nationwide LGBT non-discrimination protections by contacting the HRC at [email protected] and adding your name to the growing list of organizations supporting such measures.

  • 120. DeadHead  |  April 25, 2015 at 10:33 am

    More fear mongering: Several GOP presidential hopefuls are pushing a new theme: American Christians are victims, facing "criminalization." One Republican raised the idea of an American theocracy under a "secular church" — which seems like a brazen oxymoron. Rachel Maddow reports:at

  • 121. EricKoszyk  |  April 25, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Any news regarding how many millions– excuse me, thousands– of people showed up for NOM's annual waste of petrol rally?

  • 122. RemC_Chicago  |  April 25, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    According to the Twitter reports I saw, police guessed 2000, although one commentator said that sounded high. The great majority rode in with Ruben Diaz from NYC on buses.

  • 123. Mike_Baltimore  |  April 25, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I've heard several sources say 1,000, but National Organization of Marriage President Brian Brown claimed (surprise, surprise) that 7,000 had been bused in.

    My guess – maybe a couple thousand, at most, attended the rally, especially if the picture at the top of the WaPo article is indicative of crowd size.
    (… )

  • 124. scream4ever  |  April 26, 2015 at 12:45 am

    I'd say 2,000-3,000 tops, which would put it at roughly the same size as the one in 2013, and bigger then the one last year (estimated to have an attendance of 1,500-2,000). Regardless, the fact that they couldn't get a higher attendance this year when it was held on a Saturday is embarrassing to say the least.

    Also of note, there was a much smaller rally/march in Arkansas led by Rebecca Owens, the daughter of Willie Owens, which was also sparsely attended (the paper estimates fewer then 80). Like the NOM event in DC, they met with our side at the courthouse steps.

  • 125. EricKoszyk  |  April 27, 2015 at 6:26 am


  • 126. ianbirmingham  |  April 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Oregon bakery refusing lesbian wedding cake fined $135,000, raises over $105,000 on GoFundMe before TOS violation shut it down; bakery will get the money already raised.

  • 127. brchaz  |  April 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    "Getting to Same-Sex Marriage" by Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago (Huffington Post) – On April 22, I delivered the University of Chicago's annual Nora and Edward L. Ryerson Lecture on the subject of same-sex marriage –

  • 128. RemC_Chicago  |  April 25, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    If I remember correctly, one of his daughters is a lesbian. I read an editorial he wrote in favor of ME more than 8 years ago. I became an instant fan. Now our lives cross due to my job. He is a treasure.

  • 129. 1grod  |  April 25, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Chaz: While the reader can become overwhelmed with legal precedents and conclusion at law found in submissions to the Court, it is very helpful to be reminded of historical-societal context. Stone ably provides this. Thank you for pointing out his article. An aspect of this context is the role religious institutions have played. Today religions are less able to dictate their values and codes of conduct .to the rest of us. "Individuals have been freed to act on their own personal and religious beliefs". The Supreme Court has had a large role in that shift. Stone sees the upcoming marriage decision as being consistent/congruent with that shift.

  • 130. FredDorner  |  April 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

    That's a really great article and I encourage everyone to read it. It's really quite well done and worth reading in full, but it's also fairly long. It goes into the history of anti-gay discrimination which Christianity fostered beginning in the 13th century, discusses the sociological development of what sexual orientation is, discusses the current legal context over the past 30 years, and ends with a prediction that SCOTUS will formally adopt heightened scrutiny for sexual orientation.

    Thanks for the link.

  • 131. sfbob  |  April 26, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Not just a great article; it's a remarkable summary of the history of anti-gay laws and sentiment. I thought I was pretty well-informed on the subject be even I learned several things. For example I already knew that Thomas Aquinas was particularly responsible for elevating same-sex "sodomy" to the level of one of the most grievous of sins but I didn't realize he had distinguished it from other forms of sexual activity also to be condemned by the church. I also knew that Augustine, his Aquinas' predecessor in the area had a great deal of impact on Christian views of sexuality but I didn't know this:

    "In a critical leap, Augustine linked sexual desire to the Fall of man. Adam's transgression, he argued, had not been one of disobedience, as the ancient Hebrews had believed, but one of sex.'

    I had not previously heard of Carl Wittman who, in 1969 wrote what he called the "Gay Manifesto" and who was apparently the first person to encourage us to come out of the closet in the way the expression is now generally understood.

    Finally, I already knew that the Reagan administration was criminally complicit in not stemming the rise of AIDS but I had not before seen it as covered as specifically as in this statement:

    "Rather than invest federal funds in medical research, the White House instructed the Center for Disease Control to 'look pretty and do as little as we can.'"

    I think Stone is being very optimistic when he opines that, in upholding our right to marry, the Court should simultaneously find that laws which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation must be subject to heightened scrutiny. Of course it should be obvious to anyone with a brain that sexual orientation precisely meets the definition of a suspect or quasi-suspect class. And I don't think it is impossible that the Court will finally go all the way, and certainly their finding in Christian Legal Society vs Martinez provides an ample precedent. But as we've seen over and over again, the Court has done it's best to follow through on the issue and has taken every opportunity to duck the question when it has arisen. I hope they will finally complete this task and I hope I'm mistaken that they will avoid doing so even while ruling for marriage equality.

  • 132. Sagesse  |  April 26, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Weekend reading while waiting for Tuesday. Here's an example of how to make equality in gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity work, if your objective is to make it work, rather than stand in the way. In this case, in the Israeli militatry.

    Meet the Israeli Army's Chief Gender Officer [Sisterhood]

  • 133. ianbirmingham  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:10 am

    …We are far more tolerant than the other places in the country. What happens in the army influences what happens in Israeli society, and is in many ways the future of Israeli society. More people in the army are exposed to people who are different from them. They learn to be more tolerant. For example, if you are a commander in a combat unit and you have under you a very good soldier that is gay, he’s part of the unit. You understand that they are part of it and there is no real difference. You understand it’s the same; it’s not an issue. There are commanders who are lesbian or gay, so a soldier can look up to them and say “My commander was gay, so what?” There’s no issue. That’s part of his education. So you’re going to understand that and take it with you after your service.

  • 134. Zack12  |  April 26, 2015 at 5:12 am
    An article about the likely 5th vote, Justice Kennedy.
    I have to be blunt, I know some people are worried the baby will be split but I think that ship has sailed.
    It will be all or nothing at this point and I think Kennedy is going to go for the all.

  • 135. JayJonson  |  April 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    The article is blocked by a paywall, so I can't read it; but I completely agree that Kennedy is going to go for the all.

  • 136. FredDorner  |  April 26, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I've never understood why people are worried about the guy responsible for all the key gay rights rulings since 1996. It was clear he was ready to rule for nationwide equality 2 years ago and overturn Prop h8.

  • 137. ianbirmingham  |  April 26, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Kennedy is safe. The real questions at this point are:
    1) Whether Roberts will join the majority, and
    2) Whether Roberts will then assign himself the majority opinion

  • 138. Zack12  |  April 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I just don't see Roberts joining the majority and even if he does, the way I understand, Kennedy can still write the controlling option.

  • 139. ianbirmingham  |  April 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Why not? He correctly understands the "level of generality" problem (which Alito does not) and he put his full weight behind Loving v. Virginia during his confirmation hearings. I was watching closely for exactly this kind of information (predictive of his position on the SSM issue) and he did really well there. A 6-3 decision is more likely than a 5-4.

    As for Kennedy writing the opinion even if Roberts is in the majority, that is possible under two alternative conditions. The first possibility is that Roberts decides that he doesn't want to write the opinion and would rather let Kennedy write it. The second possibility is that Roberts writes a majority opinion himself (joined by at least four other justices) and then Kennedy writes his own concurring opinion (also joined by at least four other justices), in which case there would be multiple majority opinions and then lower courts could just pick their favorite means (out of these two choices) by which to strike down laws against SSM.

    Finally, RemC_Chicago (below) is quite correct in that the level of scrutiny is another real and important unresolved question at this point. I'm guessing heightened scrutiny, but Kennedy has a longstanding reputation for never actually saying what the level of scrutiny is.

  • 140. JayJonson  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    You give much far too much credence to Roberts's confirmation hearing, and you seem to forget that in them he decried "judicial activism," saying that the role of SCOTUS justice was simply to be an "umpire" or other absurd dereliction of duty.

    More pertinently, he was very clear in his Windsor dissent that he thought DOMA constitutional. It is almost impossible to go from thinking that to believing that state bans are unconstitutional.

    In addition, the Sutton decision was tailored to Roberts' remarks in the oral arguments in 2013, when he said that gay people were a powerful political force. He will no doubt write a mealy-mouthed dissent on the issue of whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right echoing the nonsense Sutton spouted about how much better it will be for us and democracy if we win the right to marry via democratic means.

    There is a slim possibility that he might concur in an opinion holding that states have an obligation to recognize legally valid marriages performed in other states. That can be framed as a states' rights issue.

  • 141. Zack12  |  April 26, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Indeed, I don't think people seem to remember the fact that Roberts has a lesbian cousin that he ruled it was perfectly okay to treat as a second class citizen.
    It is going to be a 5-4 vote our side, period.

  • 142. ianbirmingham  |  April 27, 2015 at 2:14 am

    You seem to forget what Roberts' Windsor dissent actually said:

    …The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States, in the exercise of their “historic and essential authority to define the marital relation,” ante, at 18, may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage. … DOMA “rejects the long-established precept that the incidents, benefits, and obligations of marriage are uniform for all married couples within each State.” Ante, at 18. But there is no such departure when one State adopts or keeps a definition of marriage that differs from that of its neighbor, for it is entirely expected that state definitions would “vary, subject to constitutional guarantees, from one State to the next.” … We may in the future have to resolve challenges to state marriage definitions affecting same-sex couples. That issue, however, is not before us in this case …

    Roberts clearly describes the question of whether or not state bans are unconstitutional as a completely different question from the one decided in Windsor. Furthermore, he quotes without dispute the majority's assertion that state regulation of marriage is subject to constitutional guarantees – harkening back to Loving v. Virginia.

    Similarly, you seem to forget what Roberts actually said during oral argument in Windsor: "…you just referred to a sea change in people's understandings and values from 1996, when DOMA was enacted, and I'm just trying to see where that comes from, if not from the political effectiveness of — of groups on your side of the case. … I am just trying to see how — where that moral understanding came from, if not from the political effectiveness of a particular group." Ms. Kaplan replies: "… I don't believe that societal understanding came strictly through political power; and I don't think that gay people today have political power as that — this Court has used that term with — in connection with the heightened scrutiny analysis." Roberts then says "Thank you, Ms. Kaplan." Here Roberts is simply probing the argument of one side and trying to understand the details of that argument. This is standard operating procedure during oral argument in the Supreme Court.

  • 143. Zack12  |  April 27, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Sorry but if Roberts was intrested in ruling in our favor, he would have done so in DOMA.
    The idea he is going to change his mind for us because of something he wrote in a dissent is a joke.

  • 144. wes228  |  April 27, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Also, if he had his way the resulting marriage regime would be unworkable: it violates equal protection/due process for a state to not license or recognize a same-sex marriage but the federal government can?

  • 145. ianbirmingham  |  April 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Dicta does not accurately forecast future rulings. SCOTUS is well known for sending up smoke signals that point in a particular direction on a likely future issue, and then taking a very different or even precisely opposite approach when the issue is directly confronted. This happens not only between prior and subsequent cases, but also between oral argument and written opinion.

    Roberts has a well known & intense federalism fetish. As long as it is technically constitutional for states to do their own thing, he wants to give them maximum freedom to do that. That doesn't mean that he won't limit the freedom of all states at the same time by ruling something unconstitutional. He has his own peculiar legal philosophy which is very significantly different from the thinking of Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

  • 146. Eric  |  April 27, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Framing the debate as between the feds and the state is a false dichotomy. Marriage is a fundamental right and would continue to be one, even if the state and federal governments purged any mention of marriage from their laws and constitutions.

  • 147. ianbirmingham  |  April 28, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Of course it's a fundamental right. But as Roberts noted, formally recognizing that it applies to cases of same-sex marriage is not the Windsor case's topic – it's a completely different case that has yet to be decided. Until that happens, the Roberts worldview says that states should be free to set their own policies. After that happens, the Roberts view is that states have to follow the Constitutional mandate to respect this formally recognized fundamental right.

    It's kind of like saying that it's OK to run over a pedestrian just because she was jaywalking, which is obviously ridiculous. But after Obergefell puts the pedestrian into a freshly painted crosswalk (formal recognition), then Roberts will be ready to jail the driver for life for hitting the pedestrian. Yes, it's very uptight thinking and Roberts really should relax and enjoy a few doobies, but it's quite different from the Scalia-Thomas-Alito concept of permanent hardcore rejection.

  • 148. JayJonson  |  April 27, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Wow, you have really drunk the koolaid. Roberts, in the passages you quote, is trying desperately to LIMIT the scope of Windsor. In fact, he provides the justification for his vote this year to support the constitutionality of the state bans.

  • 149. Zack12  |  April 27, 2015 at 6:43 am

    " Roberts, in the passages you quote, is trying desperately to LIMIT the scope of Windsor."
    Too bad Scalia's temper tantrum ruined his attempts at that.
    As for the other part, it is simply absurd to say the federal government can discriminate but the states can't.

  • 150. JayJonson  |  April 27, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Yes, we all need to thank Scalia for providing the logic that led to all the district and circuit courts ruling the way they did. Roberts, on the other hand, took the traditional role of the dissent to attempt to limit the majority opinion. Luckily, the only circuit that paid any attention to Roberts's dissent was the Sixth. The other judges have had a wonderful time trolling Scalia.

    In any case, Roberts is no friend of ours.

  • 151. Mike_Baltimore  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    There can be a 6-3 opinion, with Kennedy writing for the majority and Roberts writing a concurring opinion of the majority opinion.

    Roberts, as Chief Justice, gets first option of writing the opinion (if he is in the majority), or he can pass it on to someone else.

    Concurring opinions can agree with most of the majority opinion, but disagree with part of it, such as the scope (whether it should be written narrower or not), the penalties (if any), etc.

    Thus, it could be a 6-3 opinion, but with Kennedy writing it, and a concurring opinion from Roberts.

  • 152. Pbrover  |  April 26, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I agree. My guess is that at most Robert's would meet halfway, split the baby, where states can deny marriage equality but must honor same sex marriages from other states.
    If he joined the majority, it would be ideal for us if he allowed the opinion to be written by Kennedy reflecting the continuum of decisions he has made. If he wrote the majority opinion I assume that he would do so to control the decision to be narrow as possible, and would avoid any language that gave deference to the dignity of all civil marriages including same sex couples being worthy of respect. It will be interesting to hear his comments on Tuesday and see if he has evolved from his Newer Than Cell Phones comment from the Windsor arguments, which seemed incredibly naive. The argument that was brought up in an earlier thread, that the political process at the state level was closed in many states by bans being enacted in their constitution, may be one argument that would resonate and would counter the Sutton opinion that equality is best decided at the local state level in the public forum vs the courts when that avenue had been closed off. I hope this point is brought up on Tuesday.

  • 153. JayJonson  |  April 26, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I think the "newer than cell phones" comment came from Alito rather than Roberts. Roberts' comments in the oral arguments in 2013 were primarily to say that that gay people are so powerful that we don't need any kind of protected status. He is likely to uphold the similar argument made by Sutton in the Sixth Circuit.

  • 154. Pbrover  |  April 26, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I stand corrected, yes Alito made that comment.
    If Roberts agrees with Sutton in his dissent, it will spark quite a debate.

  • 155. VIRick  |  April 26, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Yes, Zack, that ship sailed last October when the Supremes refused to grant certiorari to the 5 cases pending before them back then.

  • 156. RemC_Chicago  |  April 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    What I'm anxious about is the issue of the level of scrutiny.

  • 157. JayJonson  |  April 26, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Did any of you watch Face the Nation this morning? Bob Schieffer interviewed Tony Perkins and Evan Wolfson in advance of the oral arguments on marriage equality at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. As to be expected, Wolfson was wonderful. Perkins was more subdued than usual, attempting to pretend to be a serious person. One of the questions Schieffer asked his was whether he had called for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices who rule in favor of same-sex marriage. With a straight face, Perkins said No, he had never done such a thing. It is not exactly news that our enemies routinely lie, but it does take a certain level of chutzpah to tell a lie that can so easily be disproved. Here is a link to a radio conversation in which Perkins calls for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices if they rule in favor of same-sex marriage:…/tony-perki….

  • 158. RemC_Chicago  |  April 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I had called Face the Nation to ask that they at least position Tony Perkins as the extremist he is. I know that a petition with at least 20,000 signatures (collected in 24 hours) went to Face the Nation. I cheered when Bob acknowledged that they had been inundated with messages stating that that evil man does not speak for all Christians and that the group he leads is listed as a hate group by the SPLC. In contrast, George Stephanopolous treated Ryan Anderson as if he was nothing more than a reasonable guy who just agreed to disagree and not the hateful "sure you can marry as long as you marry a woman" jerk that he is. PS Jay, I gasped when he blithely said no to the question about impeaching judges but was so glad that the question was asked. I wonder why 60 Minutes hasn't done an exposé of him?

  • 159. Sagesse  |  April 26, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Ryan Anderson has been very prominent lately. There was a profile on him in the Washington Post, but I've used up my free articles for the month and wasn't able to read it. It's as though he is the younger, less morbidly obese, less fire and brimstone strident version of Brian Brown. The anti-marriage crowd seems to think that people will be hugely impressed by a well spoken, well educated (wrong, but well spoken and well educated) millennial opposing marriage equality. We're going to be seeing a lot more of this twerp in the coming weeks.

  • 160. Mike_Baltimore  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Sagesse –

    There is a way to get around the WaPo 'free articles/month' limit (also applies to all sites with a 'free' limit, then hide things behind paywalls, IF you are willing to delete one or more cookies, and not switch computers.

    The WaPo (and other sites) track usage with cookies, thus one can read 10 articles (or whatever the limit is) on the first or the last day of the month, or one article every three days, and still get to read the articles in a particular month (if the number of 'free' articles is 10).

    One can delete all cookies, then when one goes to a web site that requires cookies for identification (such as EoT), sign back in; or

    Do a search of all the cookies on your computer to find the ones that even mention WaPo and delete them. After a couple of times, you should be able to go directly to those cookies.

    Either method is a royal pain, though.

  • 161. Alphazip  |  April 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    What I usually try when I hit a paywall is to do a search on the article title in Google. When directed to the site by Google, I can usually see the full article.

  • 162. x15gal  |  April 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    The page you directed to for Perkins' quote is no longer active. Have to wonder if Perkins had the wherewithal to send out an internet bug that would have erased this audio clip. I know of other people who have succeeded in that regard such as the terrible comments from Chuck Yeager after the loss of test pilot Scott Crossfield in 2006. Also, the same happened with Rick warren's anyi-LGBT statements on the web after the passage of Prop 8 in 2008 where Warren wanted to say he never was against LGBT people (the suicide of his gay son notwithstanding). If you happen to find another link or a transcript to the comments from Perkins it would be wonderful. And it would be especially great to send those comments to Bob Scheiffer so he knows his guest lied.

  • 163. JayJonson  |  April 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    It is interesting that the page was disabled. Let's try this link:

  • 164. mu2  |  April 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Still works @ 1630 CDT, thanks.

  • 165. x15gal  |  April 26, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks Jay. Yes, this link works great. Hope somebody can get it to Bob Scheiffer. If they could, maybe they would stop asking Perkins on to these shows. His kind need to stop being used as "experts" about anything to do with TGBT equality.

  • 166. Decided_Voter  |  April 26, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Good reading ahead of Tuesday's arguments:

  • 167. Zack12  |  April 26, 2015 at 10:35 am

    On the flipside, here is a really dumb article from CNN about Jeffery Sutton, the jerk who wrote the majority option upholding gay marriage bans in the 6th Circuit.
    As I've said before, Sutton didn't come up with anything new or original in his arguments against us.
    It's just that unlike Paul Kelly Jr from the 10th Circuit, Paul Niemeyer from the 4th, Jerry Smith (if the 5th rules), Sutton simply had a judge on the panel (Deborah Cook) that made it possible for the bigot's arguments to be in the majority this time.
    I think it's stupid for CNN to be showing him as some judge that came up with new ideas or that other judges aren't against us as well.
    The 8th circuit will be proof of that.
    I hope CNN does a follow up on Sutton and Cook and asks them how they feel about their bigoted option being regulated to the dustbin of history.
    Maybe they compare notes with Chester Straub of the 2nd, whose 40 plus years of involvement in NY politics and the courts will be whittled down to his bigoted dissent in the Windsor case.

  • 168. VIRick  |  April 26, 2015 at 10:49 am

    '…. about Jeffery Sutton, the jerk …."

    Zack, you're being waaaaaaay too complimentary!! Seriously.

  • 169. Decided_Voter  |  April 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

    And not mentioned in the article are the human traits of love and dignity which will no doubt carry weight in the final opinion of The Court.

  • 170. Zack12  |  April 26, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Indeed, and I also feel it hasn't been mentioned enough that even though she didn't speak a lot, Judge Cook didn't bother to hide her disguist at the fact a same sex couple would even think of trying to use the judicial system in their favor.
    That and her comments about how same sex couples facing hardships shows her bigotry.
    At least Sutton tried to hide his, Cook didn't even bother.
    We should all be glad McCain didn't win in 08, because it was widely considered by many that Cook, being a female and a conservative to boot, would have been at the front of the line for a SCOTUS seat.
    As it stands now, she will have the "honor" of being the only female judge to rule against us in the marriage equality fight, have fun with that legacy.

  • 171. F_Young  |  April 26, 2015 at 11:08 am

    How One of the Most Important Edits in U.S. History Paved the Way for Marriage Equality

    …..The equal protection clause was added to the 14th Amendment –then in draft form—- on April 28, 1866, 149 years to the day before the Obergefell argument.

    …..This critical text is the handiwork of John Bingham -—a now-forgotten American who was a key leader during Reconstruction.

    …..Bingham’s key move was to craft a new provision that promised “equal protection of the laws” for all persons, not just African Americans. In one of the most important edits in American history, Bingham added text that was, as he later explained, “a simple, strong, plain declaration that equal laws and equal and exact justice shall hereafter be secured within every State of the Union,” guaranteeing “equal protection” for “any person, no matter whence he comes, or how poor, how weak, how simple—no matter how friendless.”

  • 172. SoCal_Dave  |  April 26, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I didn't see this posted but may have missed it…

    regarding the "big fat gay predicament" 2016 GOP candidates find themselves in.
    written to entertain but also full of smart observations.

  • 173. DeadHead  |  April 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS blog has an interesting new post: Same-sex marriage: The decisive questions at

  • 174. sfbob  |  April 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Dennison makes one very strange statement:

    "[T]he Fourteenth Amendment forbids denial of equal legal rights based upon a constitutionally forbidden category. In this situation, that category is sexual orientation or, as it is sometimes called, gender identity."

    It is perplexing to me that he has conflated sexual orientation and gender identity when they are in fact very, very different.

  • 175. ianbirmingham  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Lyle is a senior citizen; like many of his age, he is clueless about such things.

  • 176. sfbob  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Denniston is 84 years old so he's 20 years older than I am. But technically I suppose I'm a senior citizen too (at any rate I'm now old enough to live in the senior housing my former employer financed). For that matter he is younger than my mom is and my mom understands the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Regardless of his age Denniston is a professional. Just as a matter of professional credibility I would expect him to have a better grasp of this particular distinction than he's shown. And the article is otherwise quite well-written (meaning in this context that we should not be overly enthusiastic about our own biases, even though I think our biases are entirely appropriate in this case).

    He does hint at the end that perhaps the Court is at long last ready to undertake dealing with sexual orientation as a protected class.

  • 177. JayJonson  |  April 26, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Not only are they very different, but he should also know that federal courts have now pretty much granted heightened scrutiny to gender identity through their reading of gender discrimination rulings.

  • 178. Sagesse  |  April 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Telling stories.

    A Buckley Comes Out: A Young Conservative’s Case for The Freedom to Marry [Daily Beast]

  • 179. Sagesse  |  April 26, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Of all the anti-marriage equality amicus briefs, I still find this one plain baffling. Other than to observe that these are not arguments of serious people, I don't understand where this tortured leap of logic comes from. if it finds its way into oral arguments, or into the decision….

    The Scholars And Lawyers Who Believe Gay Marriage Causes Abortion [Daily Beast]

  • 180. 1grod  |  April 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Not reason to be complacent about this court's decision: Is history repeating itself? ask Andy Thayer

  • 181. Sagesse  |  April 26, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Not sure if this Alabama development has gotten lost in the shuffle.

    On eve of Supreme Court arguments, judge refuses to dismiss Alabama gay marriage lawsuit []

  • 182. 1grod  |  April 27, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Sagesse – the 2 decisions themselves dated 15/4/23 were posted above on the 25th.…. and….

  • 183. F_Young  |  April 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Why the American Family Needs Same-Sex Parents

    …..Same-sex couples are three times more likely than their different-sex counterparts to be raising adopted or foster children. Among married couples, same-sex couples are five times more likely. In states where same-sex couples can legally marry, more than three percent of adopted or foster children have same-sex parents. Since only about 0.3 percent of all children in those states have same-sex parents, it means that adopted and foster children there are nearly 10 times more likely than children in general to have same-sex parents.

    …..Two studies published last year in Demography, the premier academic journal in the field, find no evidence that allowing same-sex couples to marry has altered the marriage rates of different-sex couples in the U.S. or in the Netherlands, the country that has allowed same-sex couples to marry longer than any other in the world.

  • 184. 1grod  |  April 27, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Kennedy and neighbor Scalia: each other's foil on LGBT's rights :

  • 185. JayJonson  |  April 27, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Joe.My.God has posted some interesting bullet points from the Williams Institute at UCLA about same-sex married couples:

  • 186. 1grod  |  April 27, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Gallop finds 780,000 Americans in Recognized SSM=39% of all USA SSM:

  • 187. 1grod  |  April 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    15.04.24 Gallop finds about one in six celebrated same-sex marriages are couples living in states where it's illegal. Tomorrow is inspired with them in mind!

  • 188. JayJonson  |  April 27, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Interesting NY Times article on strategy for tomorrow's arguments:

    Also a profile of former Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall:

    One of the readings at our wedding was from her wonderful Goodridge decision.

  • 189. RemC_Chicago  |  April 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

    From the article:
    David A. Strauss, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said gay rights groups were unlikely to get everything they want. “The court is likely to write an opinion that is long on majestic generalities and short on policy specifics,” he said, “and then leave it to the states and the lower courts to work out the implications.”


  • 190. tigris26  |  April 27, 2015 at 9:23 am

    This is interesting to me… It makes me wonder if Strauss is referring to what happened with interracial marriage. The Supreme Court ruled in 1967 making interracial marriage legal nationwide, but there still remained legal barriers for interracial couples in certain states who had banned it originally. For instance, I read a few weeks ago that the state of Alabama had not completely "legalized" interracial marriage until 2003.

    I am not quite certain of what those legal details are, but I am curious if that is what will happen to same-sex couples if SCOTUS makes a sweeping ruling.

  • 191. sfbob  |  April 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

    There are similarities and differences between what is happening now with respect to marriage equality and what happened with respect to interracial marriage as a result of Loving vs Virginia. It's been pointed out for example that approximately the same number of states still ban marriage equality as banned interracial marriage in 1967 while at the same time public opinion is far ahead of the courts on marriage equality now while it was far behind the courts on interracial marriage back then (it took until I believe 1990 before a majority ceased to oppose interracial marriage).

    Alabama was the last state to formally repeal its anti-miscegenation law, doing so in 2000 (not 2003). But of course the law was null and void from 1967 onward because of Loving vs Virginia. What's more relevant is that it took an additional suit, United States vs Brittain, 1970, to compel Alabama to fully comply with Loving.

    What seems really pertinent to me in this context is that while the public was behind the courts when it came to interracial marriage, discrimination based on race was already illegal when Loving vs Virginia was decided. By contrast, even if the Supreme Court were to rule fully in our favor and additionally to find that laws which permit discrimination based on sexual orientation must be subject to heightened scrutiny, that would not automatically end such discrimination. Most civil rights laws specify which groups are covered by them. A favorable court ruling probably would not add sexual orientation to those laws (though there may be some exceptions; I'm not an attorney and I'd appreciate if an attorney with expertise in this area would weigh in here). Most laws don't actually say "please feel free to discriminate on sexual orientation." The simply don't say anything one way or the other about so doing. And a court ruling in our favor won't fix that. If you were to sue because you were discriminated against based on your sexual orientation, if the court rules that sexual orientation is a suspect class then the odds would greatly increase that you would win your lawsuit but it wouldn't do anything for the next person who experienced unfair treatment; they'd have to bring a suit as well.

  • 192. VIRick  |  April 27, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Bob, you claim you're not an attorney, but perhaps you ought to be, as that's an excellent comparative analysis.

    Once we have marriage equality, we still need to continue pushing for the expansion of non-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation,– otherwise, it'll be one lawsuit after the other after the next, ad nauseum.

    Up above, in several posts of my own, I've tried to show that any number of Latin American countries already have such non-discrimination wording included in bold print right in their national constitutions. We don't have such specific wording in the US Constitution, only the courts' interpretation of "Equal Protection" and "Due Process." So, we still need a strongly-worded Federal ENDA, or a revision/update of the Federal Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation (and gender identity). In the alternative, we would otherwise need a shit load of state statutes probitibing such discrimination. In the meantime, these RFRAs are not only unnecessary, but are bucking the direction that we (as a nation) ought to be heading.

    Here, we can borrow the words from Bolivia's Constitution, as this is what we need:

    "El Estado prohíbe y sanciona toda forma de discriminación fundada en razón de sexo, color, edad, orientación sexual, identidad de género …."

    "The State prohibits and sanctions against all forms of discrimination based upon sex, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity …."

    And if that's too simple and straight-forward, I'll hunt around and find the text of Mexico's Constitution which prohibits the same forms of discrimination, as they have a recently-enacted constitutional amendment about it which goes into much further detail.

    And by the way, although I've looked and looked, neither nation allows for anything called "religious exemption" as a means for dodging their non-discrimination provisions. At all. None.

  • 193. RnL2008  |  April 27, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Bob, great comment and I would agree with you…..that though the right to marry issue will be relatively solved, there still will be other fights going forward like these RFRA laws being rushed through or some called the moral conscious laws…….either way, what the anti-gay are trying to do with these type of laws is add extra protection to supposed Christians, but in my opinion, will truly start to show the true ANIMUS that some have against us.

    The reason I make the comment SUPPOSED Christian is because there is NO way to prove one is a Christian, which denomination they are or what they believe it and in all of the legal cases that have taken place like with the photographer, the bakers and the florist, each one of the business owners were the ones to inject their supposed beliefs to deny service. One has the right to believe as they want, but one DOESN'T have the right to use that belief to DISCRIMINATE and basically where these folks fail in their beliefs in MPO , is that so far, they ONLY opt to use them against a suspect minority class if American Citizens……..wait until some Gay or Lesbian business owner or pro-gay business owner reverses the tables and denies services to anti-gay folks and the screaming will be endless like what is happening in the case of the baker in Colorado who was willing to make a cake for an anti-gay customer, but refused to put the writing on it.

    What the goose DOESN'T get is it okay for the Goose to use their beliefs to discriminate, but NOT for the Gander to do the same thing.

    The more these discrimination suits are present towards Gays and Lesbians, the easier the ruling comes down in our favor… least that's what I believe what will take place moving on!!!

  • 194. F_Young  |  April 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    sfbob: "…..Most civil rights laws specify which groups are covered by them. A favorable court ruling probably would not add sexual orientation to those laws….."

    It may be interesting to note Canada's experience on this issue.

    In the Vriend case in 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada found that Alberta's human rights law, which prohibits discrimination in the public and private sectors based (only) on the personal characteristics listed therein, violated what could be called the equal protection section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (i.e. Section 15) because the Alberta law failed to mention sexual orientation. The Charter is part of Canada's national constitution.

    In the Egan case in 1995, the SCC had already decided that sexual orientation is one of the characteristics implicitly included in Section 15 of the Charter. Contrary to most provincial anti-discrimination laws, Section 15 is explicitly open-ended; the characteristics listed in it are only examples. This open-ended wording was adopted in reaction to vocal opposition to explicitly listing sexual orientation; the wording was designed so that sexual orientation could be added by the courts.

    Thus, in the Vriend case, the SCC declared that the words "sexual orientation" must be read into Alberta's human rights law and the law must be applied accordingly.

    At the time, Alberta was Canada's Texas; so, its legislature defiantly refused to amend its human rights law to add the words "sexual orientation," but its human rights commission, courts and tribunals applied the law to the private and public sectors as if the words were there until the law was finally amended to add the words in 2009.

    In effect, the SCC interpreted "equal protection and equal benefit of the law" to mean what it says. While provinces are not required to have anti-discrimination laws, if they choose to adopt anti-discrimination laws, such laws may not discriminate contrary to Section 15. Otherwise, they wouldn't provide equal protection, would they?

  • 195. scream4ever  |  April 27, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Right now we're at three fewer then which banned interracial marriage.

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