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Equality news round-up: JONAH trial still going on, and more

Conversion therapy cases LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– Equality Case Files has posted more updates from the JONAH trial (challenging “conversion therapy” in New Jersey as consumer fraud) here and here.

Buzzfeed reports that President Bill Clinton’s administration considered endorsing marriage equality.

– The challenge to Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban currently in the Ninth Circuit has been placed on hold until September 25. The order says: “The parties’ stipulation to further stay appellate proceedings is granted. This case is stayed until September 25, 2015. On or before the expiration of the stay, appellants shall file the opening brief or file a status report and an appropriate motion. If appellants file the opening brief, the answering will be due October 26, 2015. The optional reply brief will be due within 14 days after service of the answering brief. The filing of the opening brief or failure to file a status report shall terminate the stay.”

Slate opines that the Court could simply rule in the marriage cases that heightened judicial scrutiny is required and send the case back to the appeals court.

UPDATE: The First Circuit has denied a request by Puerto Rico legislators to intervene in the marriage case. The order says: “The motion for leave to intervene filed by eight named Senators and five named Representatives of the Puerto Rico Legislature is denied. The movants have failed to cite any authority in support of their suggestion that, as individual legislators, they have a “direct and significantly protectable” interest, see Ungar v. Arafat, 634 F.3d 46, 51-52 (1st Cir. 2011), in the constitutionality of legislation enacted by the Puerto Rico legislature. Cf. Karcher v. May, 484 U.S. 72, 79-81 (1987) (legislative leaders allowed to intervene in their official capacities as representatives of the state legislature); INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 930 n. 5 (1983) (U.S. House and Senate allowed to intervene in case challenging the constitutionality of a federal statute, where both legislative bodies authorized the intervention by resolution). We deny the motion for permissive intervention as a matter of discretion. See Daggett v. Commission on Govt’l Ethics, 172 F.3d 104, 113 (1st Cir. 1999). The court is ably served by the existing briefs of the parties as well as the numerous amicus briefs submitted; and we conclude that allowing intervention at this stage may impede the court’s ability to dispose of the matter promptly if it chooses to do so after a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, S. Ct. No. 14-556, and consolidated case nos. 14-562, 14-571, and 14-574, is issued. Motion denied.”


  • 1. nyc227  |  June 17, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Did anyone see this touching film on PBS the other night ?
    It’s free online until July 15.

    Decades before The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, one gay couple fell in love and took on the U.S. government to fight for marriage and immigration equality. Limited Partnership chronicles the 40-year love story between Filipino American Richard Adams and his Australian husband, Tony Sullivan, who in 1975 became one of the world's first same-sex couples to be legally married.

  • 2. davepCA  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Yes, I missed the first few minutes but saw the rest of it. Very moving and powerful story.

  • 3. Rick55845  |  June 17, 2015 at 9:09 am

    From the main post above:

    "The challenge to Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban currently in the Ninth Circuit has been placed on hold until September 25."

    Arizona is already a marriage equality state. What challenge to Arizona's marriage ban is currently before the 9th circuit? Scottie? Got a link?

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  June 17, 2015 at 9:27 am

    The fact that stays were denied does not mean appeals are not proceeding in states who saw their bans struck down (after the Oct.6 denial of cert) by district courts. Montana's, North Carolina's, South Carolina's,Kansas's, Alaska's, Florida's and Alabama's cases are in the respective courts of appeals, stayed till the scotus decision. Now the 11th circuit hasn's ruled but has declined to issue stays to the Alabama and Florida cases while the 4th, 9th and 10th circuits have ruled against the ban and unless scotus decides otherwise or the situation is different or the argumentation is novel, these decisions are binding there. Still states have a right to appeal.
    In Arizona things are a little different I believe and it's only about attorneys' fees etc..Of course if SCOTUS rules against marriage equality the appealed case in the 9th circuit will serve as a vehicle to re instate the ban, but the official reason for the appeal are the fees.

  • 5. VIRick  |  June 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Before re-posting a portion of today's introduction onto another website, I re-wrote most of it to reflect the narrow aspect of the Arizona appeal, as follows:

    Arizona Appeal Further Stayed

    The single-issue appeal of Arizona’s same-sex marriage cases, "Connolly v. Jeanes" and "Majors v. Horne," regarding the amount of monetary compensation the state must provide to the plaintiffs' attorneys (but not either of the rulings themselves), currently before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, has been further stayed until 25 September 2015.

  • 6. RemC  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:14 am

    The testimony at the JONAH trial from an expert social psychologist, identified below as Lalich, about the components of coercive influence, such as in found in cults, was a bit nauseating to read in conjunction with what these guys went through in the program—in seeking to go from gay to straight:

    Lalich: "…coercive influence or, as it's sometimes called, coercive persuasion is essentially a situation where someone with more power is influencing someone with lesser power and they typically do that in stages using manipulative and sometimes deceptive techniques or ploys to get the persons to go along with what they want to go along with." Its "…the common characteristics would be a powerful person or authority figure or sometimes more than one. Secrecy, having a very closed philosophy and offering that as sort of the sole solution to whatever the issue might be. Using what is called high arousal techniques, which are these techniques that basically serve to manipulate someone, either emotionally or psychologically, and I would say also targeting their population or targeting their recruits and then having a program of indoctrination or a program of education to educate and get them to adopt that particular philosophy."

    Plaintiff's Lawyer: "What is the impact likely to be on JONAH's clients of this sole solution approach?"

    Lalich: "Well, if you think about the fact you have these individuals who are desperate,
    who believe in their heart of hearts that they need to be straight and they come to JONAH and are convinced that JONAH can bring this to them, that JONAH can make them straight, JONAH can help them get rid of their same sex attractions, and so in their desperation, they are going to latch onto that idea and by offering this solution and saying they are the only ones who can do it and sort of putting out these unfounded success statistics, it's going to make the person feel like, now at least initially oh, my God, I finally found something and they will jump into it full force because it's like — now it's like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

    (I don't think Dr. Lalich was aware of the irony of her last statement)

    This is the Defendants' Lawyer examining Lalich, who is gay:

    Lawyer: "But you don't believe there is actually such a thing as a gay agenda working
    in this case, do you?

    "No, I don't.'

    Defendants' Lawyer: "The fact that these activists encourage [the plaintiffs] to make a video and to go on YouTube with it and do media interviews and have been saying that this practice has to stop nationwide, you don't consider that to be a gay agenda?"

  • 7. sfbob  |  June 17, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Those last questions from the defense attorney are really and truly vile. After all who is on trial here? I thought it was JONAH.

    Incidentally, what was Lalich's response to the second question?

  • 8. RemC  |  June 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Here you go, Bob. You might want to take two aspirin before reading:

    Lalich: I don't know what you mean by the gay agenda.

    Defendant’s Lawyer: Well, I just said it. Trying to stop this practice nationwide by using these people in a manipulative, coercive way to say things to help shut down what they call conversion therapy nationally. Have you looked at that as an issue to decide whether in fact the plaintiffs are being manipulated but not by my clients, but people who are trying to use them for their own ends through this lawsuit?

    Lalich: I don't believe that's what happened.

    Defendant’s Lawyer: You said you were against this whole idea of gay to straight as part of my client's philosophy. Isn't it true none of the Plaintiffs came to my clients and said they were gay. In fact they said they were same-sex attracted and wanted help overcoming it because they wanted to get married and have families of their own?

    Lalich: I don't know that they said the word gay and I don't know that they used same-sex attracted. I believe they were struggling with the fact that they thought they were homosexual and their communities were opposed to that.

    Defendant’s Lawyer: They themselves expressed a desire to get married and have families in each and every instance; did they not?

    Lalich: Yes, because that's what was expected of them.

  • 9. davepCA  |  June 17, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Sheesh, the rhetoric flowing from the defendant's lawyers in these loaded questions is just mind boggling. He might as well be referring to the gay people who have the nerve to want to stop people from being harmed by this quackery as being "uppity".

  • 10. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 17, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Sounds like the longer the JOHAH people testify, or their attorneys cross-examine, the worse their case gets.

    If that is the case, maybe we should hope to trial continues for another month. By then, the 'JONAH people' will be so far into the hole they keep digging for themselves, it will take a telescope to see them.

  • 11. BillinNO  |  June 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    (Almost like they're inside the belly of a whale, or something)

  • 12. RnL2008  |  June 17, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Maybe someone should bring in the video from the show on TLC about "My husband is NOT Homosexual"……….or maybe look at stuff like this:

    or this one:….

    These are narratives from folks who tried to change who they are…..the last link is from Bussee who worked for Exodus International.

  • 13. RemC  |  June 17, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Rose, someone else on EoT pointed out that one of the "success" stories they're bringing in as a defendants witness is one of the guys that appeared on the "Not Gay" show. I'm very curious to see how the plaintiff lawyers handle the cross-examination.

  • 14. RnL2008  |  June 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Well, considering that my wife and I watched the one episode on TLC, the men ALL were clearly very much Gay, even one guy on the show told his supposed wife that he was going camping with a couple of "THE GUYS" and a new guy would be joining them and the wife ALMOST went ballistic over it……and even when the guys were playing a round of basketball, the wives had to show up to basically ensure that the "HUSBANDS" didn't do anything……, the guys even had a scoring card in place…..and when the one couple went out for a walk, the husband lowered his sunglasses to check out a guy jogging……yep, NOT Gay at all……lol!!

  • 15. David_Las_Cruces_NM  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:40 am

    But they are brainwashed to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with being honest with themselves about their sexual preferences. Don't discount the fact that these individuals are basically actors hamming it up for the audience (checking out the guy jogging) to advance the money-motivated agenda of the producers (who have a financial interest in so-called therapy/support organizations).

  • 16. VIRick  |  June 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Everybody Keeps Asking When The Supreme Court’s Marriage Decision Is — So Here’s A Guide from Chris Geidner:

    "It could come Thursday, or next week, or the week after that. Breathe — and don’t listen to anyone who tells you they know exactly when it’s going to happen." Read more here:

  • 17. RnL2008  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    So the ruling in the Marriage case could come tomorrow, Friday or the end of the month… it……I'll ask again just to annoy someone…….lol!!!

  • 18. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  June 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    17 opinions left to release in the Oct14 SCOTUS Term. We have 2 from Jan, 5 from Feb, 4 from March, and 6 from April left to dole out. So who wants to predict how many get release tomorrow at 10am ET? I don't see how this wraps up on Monday, June 29th. I expect not only a M-W-F next week, but a Monday and Wed-or-Thurs the following week, so still done before the start of the 4th of July weekend on 7/3.

  • 19. VIRick  |  June 17, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Here's why this whole Trans bathroom issue, an invention of right-wing "think" tanks, needs to be given a rest,– permanently,– and why people need to mind their own business and stop trying to be "Bathroom police:"

    "Woman Sues Restaurant That Ejected Her From Bathroom for Looking 'Like a Man'"

    Cortney Bogorad says an innocent trip to the bathroom ended with public humiliation and injuries from being physically thrown onto the street by a security guard.

    Cortney Bogorad was born female, is hetero, and continues to identify as female, and thus, was using the correct bathroom. Never mind how she "looks."

  • 20. RnL2008  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    When I was in Junior High, my hair was still short after the lovely hair buzz my wonderful (sarcasm) father gave me for a punishment at the end of my 6th grade year……anyways, I had on a long skirt and a Cameo around my neck……..forgot something in the girl's locker room, so I went back to get and believe it or NOT, some of the girls screamed "THERE'S A MAN" in here……folks, I'm telling ya that the ONLY reason someone goes into the opposite-sex bathroom is because the line is shorter and to go relieve themselves…..NOTHING more……grow the "F" up!!!

  • 21. VIRick  |  June 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Round TWO:

    "Special Election Set for Fayetteville AR’s LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law"

    FAYETTEVILLE, AR — A special election will be held later this year over a proposed Fayetteville city law intended to shield LGBT residents from discrimination. But even if voters ratify the ordinance on 8 September, it’s unclear whether it will be allowed under a state law the Legislature approved in February without the governor’s signature.

    The new state law, set to go into effect in late July, restricts local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections not contained in the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, the "Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette" reported. The civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on someone’s race, religion, gender, national origin and disability, but doesn’t mention sexual orientation or gender identity.

    On 16 June 2015, the Fayetteville City Council voted to send the ordinance up for a public vote in a special election. The City Council had passed a previous anti-discrimination law in August 2014, but residents narrowly repealed it on 9 December.

  • 22. scream4ever  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Payback for what the Duggars did.

  • 23. VIRick  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    The city council of Fayetteville is totally undaunted, and passed this measure so that they could control the language in the special election proposal. They expect it to pass (now that the Duggars have been exposed), and are even preparing for the possibility of a lawsuit, once it does.

  • 24. RnL2008  |  June 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Narrowly defeated because of the damn Duggar's…..maybe they should mind their own business and take care of the skeletons in their own closet!!!

  • 25. Sagesse  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:02 am

    While waiting for a SCOTUS decsion, a reminder of how we got here.

    Don't Listen To Same-Sex Marriage Foes: It Was Always About Hating On The Gays [TPM]

  • 26. Rick55845  |  June 18, 2015 at 5:44 am

    I had trouble with your link the first time I tried it, Sagesse. I was getting "503 service unavailable", so perhaps that was really the web site unable to respond. Anyway, this shorter link also works:

    Excellent article, by the way. Thanks for posting it.

  • 27. Rick55845  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:02 am

    SCOTUS will release more decisions today. Here is the link to the live blog feed that will be starting in a half hour or so.

    I doubt we'll get a decision on Obergefell today, but you never know.

  • 28. wes228  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:10 am

    I think today we'll also get notification of the additional days to be added for next week.

    Are there any other cases my fellow Trial Trackers are looking forward to? There are 16 other cases to be decided ya know…it's not all about us! đŸ˜›

  • 29. scream4ever  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:51 am

    King v Burell of course!

  • 30. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 11:38 am

    "…it's not all about us!"

    Oh Wes!! I'm sorry, but it's ALWAYS about us! LOL

  • 31. DACiowan  |  June 18, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Four boxes of opinions today, meaning we're likely getting a lot of the smaller ones out of the way today.

    ETA: We got six decisions today, meaning 11 are left.

  • 32. TDGrove  |  June 18, 2015 at 7:23 am

    No Obergefell decision today.

  • 33. scream4ever  |  June 18, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Five released today, 12 more to go…

  • 34. DACiowan  |  June 18, 2015 at 7:39 am


    McFadden v. US was released as well, but isn't in SCOTUSBlog's front page list for some reason.

  • 35. guitaristbl  |  June 18, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Wow the scotus machine is on today..6 opinions if I counted correctly. Most interesting is the Walker decision about license plates where the liberals were joined by Thomas (!) on a 5-4 decision.

  • 36. SoCal_Dave  |  June 18, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I admit I'm not very knowledgeable about doings at SCOTUS, but I'm also surprised by some of the voting splits on opinions coming out today. Thomas siding with Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor and RBG? Scalia scolding Alito? Kennedy, Alito and Sotomayor join in an opinion? WTH??

  • 37. tigris26  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Wow 6 decisions released today! Maybe we will get a decision for Obergefell and King late next week if the Court releases that many opinions on Monday…

    May I say that I was pleased to see today that Justice Kennedy remained consistent with regards to his other "favorite" issue: capital punishment. Aside from gay rights, capital punishment is the other issue that Kennedy almost ALWAYS joins the liberal justices on. Kennedy has never appeared to be a proponent on the death penalty. And in today's case Brumfield v. Cain, which dealt with the death penalty for the intellectually disabled, Kennedy sided with the liberal justices.

  • 38. guitaristbl  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Kennedy is not a proponent of capital punishment ? Lets see if the decision in Glossip reflects that..I doubt it..

  • 39. tigris26  |  June 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Of all the reading I've done on Kennedy, capital punishment is one issue that he typically takes a critical view on. That has been my understanding. Now, depending on the specific case, his opinion may shift a little. I am not familiar with Glossip so I cannot say anything in regards to that specifically.

  • 40. wes228  |  June 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Kennedy would not find that the death penalty violates the 8th Amendment outright. He is very liberal on 8th Amendment issues when it comes to the young and intellectually disabled, always siding with the liberals on those issues (usually invoking his favorite theme of "dignity" when doing so). The Glossip case does not involve any of those groups, only conjecture as to how aware an inmate is when receiving these drugs, so I think he may give the state the benefit of the doubt there.

    He could go either way on Glossip, but my money is on him siding with the conservatives on that one.

  • 41. guitaristbl  |  June 18, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Strange as it may sound gay people found their way in Alito's dissent in Walker, the case about the denial of a license plate showing a confederate flag from the relevant Board. Alito is arguing in favour of allowing the license plate even though it depicts a controversial symbol and among others he says on page 16 of his dissent :

    "Texas allows a specialty plate honoring the Boy Scouts but the group's refusal to accept gay leaders angers some."

    Some as in a fair minded majority…

  • 42. scream4ever  |  June 18, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Interesting how Thomas voted with the liberal majority. I guess when you're a member of the group which the side in said case is known for discriminating against, you can use it as a double standard and rule when it benefits you.

  • 43. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 18, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I'm a g-g-grandson of a veteran of the Union Army in the US Civil War, and the g-g-grandson of a veteran of the CSA. I would NOT join either, but you couldn't pay me to join the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

    I might consider joining the Sons of the American Revolution, though, but I doubt if I would join even it. (I'm qualified to join, as I had multi-great-grandfathers on both the paternal side and on the maternal side participate in that war.)

  • 44. VIRick  |  June 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Scream, we have a "wise old people say" local expression here which succinctly summarizes the situation:

    "There are only two things one HAS TO do in life: Stay black and die."

    Every once in a great while, and almost in spite of himself, Thomas somehow manages to remember the first part of that admonition. It's a travesty, though, that he can't seem to remember it far more frequently.

  • 45. Eric  |  June 18, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    The BSA plate could be challenged under the Establishment Clause.

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