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Archives – June, 2015

Equality news round-up: Marriage equality effectively legalized in Mexico, and more

News from Mexico, the US Supreme Court, and more.

Continue 41 Comments June 15, 2015

Rick Santorum vs Marriage

By Matt Baume

Rick Santorum says he’ll fight the Supreme Court on marriage. Sure he will. North Carolina passed a law allowing officials to opt-out of marrying not just gay couples, but all couples. And Texas is shaping up to be the primary battleground once the Supreme Court rules on marriage.

With the Supreme Court due to rule on marriage any day now, Presidential “candidate” Rick Santorum says he would fight back against a pro-equality ruling. He says that states allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is a violation of his religious freedom, which is an argument a lot people made about interracial marriage in the 60s. So do couples need to worry about the possibility that Rick Santorum could stop them from marrying? No. For one thing, the president doesn’t get to veto Supreme Court rulings. And for another, Rick Santorum will never be president.

But statements like those give cover to organizations that oppose marriage equality. Last week a group of religious leaders took out an ad in some newspapers saying that they would defy any order from the Supreme Court to recognize marriage equality. Can they do that? No, not really. At most, they can use this as an excuse to gather email addresses on a petition, which is exactly what they’re doing. This is the work of Rick Scarborough, who has in the past suggested that someone should file a class action lawsuit against homosexuality, so clearly not one of the country’s great legal minds.

Meanwhile, back in reality, a judge in Arkansas ruled this week that the state must recognize marriages performed during a brief window last year when clerks were issuing licenses. And Lambda Legal has filed a new lawsuit in Texas to stop the state from denying spousal benefits to LGBT government employees. Texas is shaping up to be a battleground state when we get a marriage ruling, with some officials doing what they can to resist equality, and others, like the clerk in Dallas, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to marry queer couples.

Also last week, the North Carolina legislature passed a law that allows government officials to opt out of issuing licenses on the basis of their religion. If they opt out, they have to do so for everyone — gay or straight, they’d have to reject all couples. It’s worth pointing out that North Carolina has had marriage equality for over half a year at this point, with no problems. And a new survey shows public support for equality reaching a new high in the state.

That goes along with a new survey from Pew this week, showing support for marriage continuing to do what it’s done for the last decade and a half. Nationally, support is averaging somewhere around 57%, with opposition well under 40. And that’s the big reason why any attempt to disobey the Supreme Court will be unsuccessful. There just aren’t enough people left who oppose the freedom to marry.

43 Comments June 15, 2015

Equality news round-up: Florida gay adoption ban repealed, and more

News from Florida, Michigan, and more.

Continue 79 Comments June 12, 2015

Equality news round-up: Transgender rights edition

News from Washington DC, New Jersey, and more.

Continue 72 Comments June 10, 2015

Equality news round-up: Guam opinion striking marriage equality is out, and more

News from Guam, and more

Continue 77 Comments June 9, 2015

North Carolina Poised to Pass “Turn Away the Gays” Bill

By Matt Baume

A bill to allow North Carolina officials to refuse to serve any couple they don’t like is several steps closer to passing, even after the governor vetoed it. Texas is coming up with new excuses for refusing to issue marriage licenses. And with a federal ruling on marriage due any day now, Judge Roy Moore continues to speak out against the Supreme Court.

North Carolina’s close to passing a bill that would allow state officials to refuse to serve gay couples. Governor Pat McCrory vetoed the bill two weeks ago, but last week the Senate overrode his veto. The House could do the same any day now, which would present a huge problem — not just for gay couples, but for everyone.

This law essentially allows state employees to disregard their oath of office, and choose which citizens they do and don’t want to serve. And it doesn’t just apply to LGBTs — straight couples, divorced couples, interracial or interfaith couples could all be denied access to public services. That’s because anti-gay legislators know that they’re not allowed to single out LGBTs for discrimination. So what they’ve done written a law that just makes everyone’s life unpleasant, which is both clever and a real pain in the neck.

Couples in Texas could be looking at similar problems. State officials there are pointing fingers to explain why they might refuse to issue licenses even if the Supreme Court orders them to. According to local officials, they can’t issue licenses until they get updated forms from the state. State officials say they’re waiting for the Attorney General. And Attorney General Ken Paxton refuses to say if he’d obey a Supreme Court ruling requiring marriage equality. All of this could leave gay couples unable to marry, with nobody in Texas taking responsibility.

Meanwhile, Alabama legislators have failed to pass a bill that would take the state out of the marriage business. The law would have stopped the state from issuing licenses to any couple, gay or straight. But legislators voted it down by an overwhelming margin in committee, which means it’s off the table. For now.

Marriage equality starts this week in Guam, after a few weeks of arguing about whether or not a ruling from a US District Court requires the territory to issue licenses. It turns out that it does. Also last week Judge Roy Moore gave an interview in which he said that marriage equality will “destroy our country.” Moore, who currently faces an ethics complaint by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. For now.

37 Comments June 8, 2015

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