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Equality news round-up: Clean up continues in remaining marriage cases after Supreme Court ruling

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Alabama state sealBREAKING UPDATE: The Fifth Circuit has issued its decisions in the marriage cases.

– The Alaska and Missouri appeals have been dismissed. We won both cases in district court, so that’s the orders that will go into effect.

– In the challenge to Mississippi’s marriage ban in the Fifth Circuit, the state’s AG has said the circuit court should just affirm the lower court’s ruling striking the ban, in light of Obergefell. Meanwhile, the lawyer who defended the ban has asked to be removed from the case, citing disagreement with the AG.

– The stay in the Nebraska marriage case was lifted, meaning that the decision striking down the ban has gone into effect.

– The ACLU is suing Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal over his discriminatory executive order.

– Same-sex couples can now get married anywhere in Kansas.

– The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and other civil rights groups are asking Alabama District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade to clarify that all probate judges in Alabama must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As of yesterday, most of the state’s 67 counties were complying, but there are still dozens of holdouts. UPDATE: Judge Granade quickly ruled that the injunction is in effect and all probate judges are bound by it. UPDATE 2: Judge Granade has ordered that any responses in opposition to making the injunction permanent be filed by July 7.

– The Supreme Court has denied review in the Idaho and North Carolina marriage cases.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings.


  • 1. dlejrmex  |  July 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Great news that Judge Granade confirmed what we already believed… her injunction is in effect.

  • 2. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 9:22 am

    This clean-up phase is going much, much faster than I expected!

  • 3. DJSNOLA  |  July 1, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Yes any prediction of a backlash or some people protesting was way overblown. This has gone even better than I thought possible.

  • 4. StraightDave  |  July 1, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Even better than RBG thought 2 years ago 🙂

    SCOTUS left absolutely no wiggle room for reluctant states to exploit. The district and circuit courts had all shown their cards so there was no sympathy to be found anywhere. The IN and AR RFRA fiascoes revealed much broader public support than had been visible earlier. The holdouts knew they were totally busted and could only resort to a few random flipped fingers and hollow religious gestures. The whole exercise was brilliantly orchestrated, executed, and timed. A lot of unknown people deserve massive credit.
    10 years ago the land was littered – nay, contaminated – with DOMA's everywhere.

    Even after Windsor, I was expecting maybe 2020 was a realistic target. But 2 short years? No chance.

  • 5. DJSNOLA  |  July 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Glad the ACLU here waited to sue our Governor until after the Supreme Court Ruling. Gives the case a great shot at addressing the Religious Freedom thing as well as could possibly be the type of case we need to get heightened scrutiny. Plus an executive order when our legislature vetoed it completely supersedes his authority. Not that he cares because he's running to be the presidential candidate of choice for Westboro Baptist Church. That's going to work out real well for him lol

  • 6. Raga  |  July 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I like this statement and reasoning (whether it is sound or not, I'm not qualified to judge): "If there were a conflict between Obergefell and the First Amendment, Obergefell would prevail. It interprets a constitutional amendment (the Fourteenth) which was enacted after the First and which could have repealed it, just as the Eighteenth Amendment enacted Prohibition and the Twenty-First repealed it."

    However, the author goes on to say there is no such conflict here anyway. I do find the conclusion of the article somewhat vacuous:

    "If, for instance, there are two clerks in an office, only one of whom objects to same-sex marriage, it would be consistent with Obergefell to allow the non-objector to issue same-sex licenses — as long as this practice neither stigmatized same-sex couples nor imposed significant burdens on them. And in this sense, Paxton is right. The state of Texas must issue same-sex marriage licenses, but in appropriate circumstances, individual clerks may be excused."

    The only way such a practice can't stigmatize or impose a burden on the same-sex couples is if it happens behind-the-scenes and the couple didn't know that a clerk didn't want to issue them a license.

  • 7. RobW303  |  July 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    It's also patently unjust to the workers who have to take over the objector's duties. (Not to mention the hypocrisy of denying gays while serving others clearly condemned in the Bible.) Not liking certain types of people is no excuse for dereliction of duty, particularly when your religious objection is so selective.

  • 8. DJSNOLA  |  July 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Exactly the real issue here is the coworker. Imagine if you have a coworker that will only marry vegans. You will be called in quite a lot. Sure its an extreme example but is it farfetched?

  • 9. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I can just picture someone in a public service position taking this idea and running with it. Sitting at their desk all day, reading magazines and eating bonbons, and no matter what their boss or other co-workers request, they respond 'Sorry, no can do. Religious objection'.

  • 10. DJSNOLA  |  July 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    You know it.. in fact it would make a really great sketch for SNL or Funny or Die

  • 11. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    "Bob, where the hell have you been? You're supposed to report to work at 8:30 AM and it's nearly noon!
    "Nope, not possible, religious objection. My beliefs about sun worship don't allow that… Or something….."
    "Bob, answer the damned phone! Why are you just letting it ring??"
    "Sorry, can't do that. Religious objection, something about 'false voices' I think"
    "Bob, can you please help Janice carry these boxes of files to the store room?"
    "Nah…. uh. religious belief about not submitting to women or whatever"
    "Bob, get off yer butt and take care of these people waiting at the front desk!"
    "uuh…. no, religious belief yadda yadda. Can't do it".
    "Yadda yadda? you're not even trying to make an excuse! Knock it off, Bob!"
    "Hey, don't trample on my religious beliefs man. Want a bonbon? I'm getting full."

  • 12. SteveThomas1  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    It's hard to see how Obergefell could possibly conflict with the First Amendment's Establishment or Free Exercise Clauses. This is because Obergefell is a Fourteenth Amendment case, and as such applies only to state action. The Establishment Clause (in everyone's interpretation but Justice Thomas') would prohibit pretty much any state action amounting to an estabishment of religion. (The only exception would be something like an opening prayer for a legislative session, not the ordinary workings of a government office.) And similarly, any government official acting within the scope of his or her employment would not be exercising his religion, as that would constitute an establishment of it, in so far as his actions are state actions.

    That being said, the ordinary rule is that a subsequent amendment trumps an earlier-ratified portion of the Constitution. (But see Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460 (2005), where the Commerce Clause was held to trump a section of the 21st Amendment.)

  • 13. SethInMaryland  |  July 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    All Kanas counties are now issueing licenses , we now just need those marriages to be reconized

  • 14. JayJonson  |  July 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    The pettiness of Jindal continues to cause problems for gay couples in Louisiana. The Department of Motor Vehicles refuses to change names of same-sex married couples on drivers licenses. Hope they get sued.

  • 15. JayJonson  |  July 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    A good discussion by noted legal experts of the implications of Obergefell for future litigation on gay rights.

  • 16. jpmassar  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Breaking: 5th Circuit rules in Texas marriage case: "preliminary injunction [striking down marriage ban] is AFFIRMED"

  • 17. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:40 pm


  • 18. Tony MinasTirith  |  July 1, 2015 at 4:17 pm


  • 19. DrBriCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    The original order from February 2014 was indeed a preliminary injunction before two other federal cases were to be heard later in the fall. Judge Garcia had stayed his ruling (still a preliminary) until last Friday. He can now finally make it permanent.

  • 20. Tony MinasTirith  |  July 2, 2015 at 4:51 am

    Indeed, but a preliminary injunction at this stage? After the matter has been forclosed by Obergefell? That's a bit like issuing a preliminary order to close the barn dor when the horse is gone and is now in the next county.

  • 21. SteveThomas1  |  July 2, 2015 at 5:11 am

    The preliminary injunction was issued over a year ago, and the judge had to wait for the Fifth Circuit's decision before proceeding further. The Fifth Circuit affirmed his preliminary injunction and returned the case to him, with instructions to enter a final injunction as soon as possible. Given Judge Garcia's promptness in dissolving his stay of the preliminary injunction on Friday after Obergefall was decided, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he issues the permanent injunction today.

  • 22. LK2013  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    It is noted above as a Breaking Update but it's worth another mention:

    The 5th Circuit has issued its decisions regarding Louisiana and Texas!

  • 23. ebohlman  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    The Fifth Circuit rulings are now all in, upholding the lower courts in MS and TX and overturning and remanding the LA case. Believe it or not, Judge Smith wrote all of them. One hopes Judge Feldman will follow his example and not that of Judge Jones of NV.

  • 24. DrBriCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    He definitely wanted to highlight the discussion about the First Amendment from Kennedy's opinion in each ruling. Clearly, everyone knows where the next battle lies in LGBT rights (although hopefully Indiana and Arkansas have already shown what happens when relying too heavily on "religious freedom").

  • 25. LK2013  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Oh, and Mississippi …!

    5th Circuit issues opinions in marriage cases:

    Louisiana: Reversed and Remanded
    Texas: Affirmed and Remanded for final judgment:
    Mississippi: Affirmed and Remanded; STAY LIFTED:

  • 26. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Game, Set, Match !!!!

  • 27. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Okay, a question for those who have been keeping score about the 5th Circuit, how many days did this finally turn out to be?

  • 28. DACiowan  |  July 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    7th Circuit – 9 days
    9th Circuit – 29 days
    4th Circuit – 76 days
    10th Circuit – 76 days for Kitchen
    10th Circuit – 92 days for Bishop
    6th Circuit – 92 days
    5th Circuit – 173 days!

  • 29. guitaristbl  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    173 days and without an actual opinion. They may have indeed sat on it all these months, writing nothing and waiting for SCOTUS to get them out of trouble..

  • 30. RnL2008  |  July 1, 2015 at 9:13 pm


  • 31. VIRick  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Same Sex Couples ‘Can Be Married’ in the V.I., Territory Must Comply with Supreme Court Ruling

    Gov. Kenneth Mapp and Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter held a joint press conference yesterday afternoon, 30 June 2015, to announce that the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage equality is clear and makes “null and void” local law that defines marriage as only a union between a man and woman.“The government of the Virgin Islands can no longer discriminate on marriages. They should arrive at full marriage equality. Persons of the same sex can be married in the U.S. Virgin Islands," Gov. Mapp said.

    Soon after Friday’s ruling was announced, Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order requiring government agencies to become compliant within 15 days, with the Health Department and other agencies issuing marriage licenses by early July.

    Mapp said Monday (29 June 2015) that after consulting his legal counsel and acting Attorney-General James Carroll III, he will soon be issuing a similar order, which is already in the process of being drafted. On Friday (26 June 2015), the "Source" reported that while the V.I. Superior Court has made the necessary changes on marriage applications (and would accept an application from a same-sex couple, but would also temporarily put it on hold, pending further action), officials said it was up to the Legislature to fix provisions in the law to make it compliant with the ruling and, until then, no marriage licenses for same-sex couples would be issued (unless *someone* were to immediately file suit, in which case a Summary Judgment would then be rendered).

    But Mapp said Tuesday (30 June 2015) that the Supreme Court ruling also makes it clear that anyone wishing to marry should not have to wait for “legislative action to be able to exercise their true choices. We will set forth to come in full compliance with the Supreme Court ruling that has, for all intents and purposes, nullified V.I. law that requires a marriage in the Virgin Islands can only be recognized if it is between a man and woman,” Mapp said. The historic Supreme Court ruling handed down Friday says states cannot prevent same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize the unions. The ruling focuses on legal rights for same-sex couples who were denied certain benefits afforded married opposite-sex couples.

    Speaking Tuesday, Mapp made it clear that the ruling does not prevent religious groups or churches from practicing their beliefs. “This ruling does not require any minister or person of faith to marry anyone they do not wish to marry or to change any religious documents in any way,” the governor said. “But the ruling does affect the behavior of civil society and, as governor of the Virgin Islands, I am responsible for the conduct and behavior of the public sector. Accordingly I will be issuing an executive order which will set forth the parameters that will allow any and all legitimate marriage licenses in the nation to be recognized in the Virgin Islands.” Persons who are lawfully married have the right to put their spouses on their health insurance, designate beneficiaries, designate individuals to make decisions on their behalf in their time of illness, and can file join tax returns at the Bureau of Internal Revenue" (our version of the IRS).

  • 32. davepCA  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Excellent!!! Very glad to finally hear this, Rick!! We've been thinking about you since we heard the news this morning!

  • 33. VIRick  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Dave, I'm totally elated!! It's now a done deal, all calmly and quietly maneuvered without any drama or fuss.

    Plus, as a serious and major bonus, everything "under cover" remains "under cover." No questions need be asked, no eyebrows need be raised, no second-guesses need be made. And a lot of pressure has been lifted. The "American Paradise" moves forward!!

  • 34. Fortguy  |  July 1, 2015 at 9:15 pm


  • 35. guitaristbl  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Well they did issue 3 different opinions saying the same things essentially as to reasoning but indeed the three cases needed to be handled differently. The texas case had a stay set in place from the district court so all thay was needed was affirmance and remand to enter final judgement in favour of plaintiffs.
    The mississippi case had the stay imposed from the 5th so it needed what the texas case needed plus vacating the stay.
    And the Louisiana case needed reversal and remand to district court to enter judgement in favour of plaintiffs.
    My point is this legal system can produce so many technical variations of the same thing, its remarkable.

    Anyway it striked me as odd that Smith took it upon himself to write these decisions at first but once I saw the first amendment and religious protections talk I understood why.
    It may actually turn out to be helpful and appease the leaders in these states but I doubt they will sit only on what Kennedy said in his decision and Smith decided to point out in his decision about religious protections..

    We'll see. For now one of the big steps in the judicial clean up process has been taken !

    P.S. I like how they ask the district courts to enter final judgement as soon as possible and gives them July 17 (My birthday !) as final date. Worth noting that on this date, 2 years ago the marriage equality bill in england & wales received royal assent thus becoming law.

  • 36. 1grod  |  July 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    As I recall it, on the 19th Canada's Senate passed passed Bill C38 and on 20 July 2005 the marriage equality bill was given royal assent and became law. An early happy birthday Rick! G

  • 37. BillinNO  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Does anyone have an updated map- or current information on compliance with the SCOTUS ruling among Texas counties? (We seem to be down to two parishes in Louisiana and three counties in Mississippi). Thanks!

  • 38. Fortguy  |  July 1, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    The Dallas Morning News maps that I've linked before do not seem to have been updated today. Of the two maps on the page, the second appears more recent and comprehensive at the time.

    Since then, I've discovered that Daniel Williams of Equality Texas has been updating maps on Facebook. Although his sources are less comprehensive than the DMN's for many counties, he is confirming many more since the DMN has last updated. Somehow creating an overlay between the DMN and EQTX would probably be the best guess at this point.

  • 39. VIRick  |  July 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Fortguy, based on the most-recent updated Texas state map provided by Equality Texas, as of the close of business yesterday, 1 July 2015, there were still 80 counties (of 254) not in compliance, mostly in the rural hinterland, many of whom were relatively pissed-off with the state for not having provided updated forms or even the least bit of guidance.

    Unlike the big-city counties, where clerks took matters into their own hands, and prepared themselves for the inevitable, almost in defiance of state authorities, many of the hinterland counties (foolishly) relied on the state authorities to keep them updated and to advise them on what to do. However, even now, that hasn't been forthcoming.

    Instead, AG Paxton told them what they could do to avoid doing what they were supposed to do,– which is NOT the advice they needed. In effect, for petty political purposes, he hung them out to dry. Many still don't know what to do, and their annoyance level has gone through the roof.

    So now, most of those remaining 80 are stuck, waiting for the software providers to properly update their computer systems with gender-neutral forms, something which could have been easily done in advance, but which was put off and put off, with the state pretending that the ruling was actually going to go the other way. And then, when it didn't, Paxton only told county clerks how to throw "religious convictions" out there, as a means of dodging the proper performance of their duties.

    As an Attorney-General, Paxton is bad news. He apparently has almost zero interest and knowledge (legally or otherwise) in understanding how county governments operate.

    And by the way, too, if Equality Texas' latest map is accurate, I see that Lipscomb County (one of the handful of so-called "religious objectors") is now in compliance. Someone must have told them to shut-up and do their job.

  • 40. guitaristbl  |  July 1, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    And now according to the wikipedia map Kansas is officially the last holdout – not colored blue – state.
    .Good job Brownback.

    At that pace all territories will catch up as well before Kansas recognizes the marriages.

  • 41. F_Young  |  July 1, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Alabama gay marriage fight: Who's going to pay for this?

  • 42. SethInMaryland  |  July 1, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Roy Moore and Pike county clerk should be the one

  • 43. 1grod  |  July 2, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    F_ Between 50 and 54 counties are issuing licences. Beyond the 50, another 6 are taking applications which suggests a readiness to do so and possibly most are counted in the 54. It also suggests those who have been denied licenses should be in touch with the National Centre for Lesbian Rights (Strawser v Strange) The '50' counties comprise 91% of the state population. Scottie Thomaston reports that "Autauga and Blount stopped issuing". Why? Coosa (pop:10966) and Crenshaw (14083) are the only counties which on February 18 were in and now appear out. The median population of the remaining counties is 22597. 50 [7/2 5:00 pm]: 54:

  • 44. 1grod  |  July 3, 2015 at 8:07 am

    What to made of a report, that there are only 7 counties not issuing licenses.
    ……. In February Henry County probate judge David Money said: "We're getting the computers set up as we speak" to issue licenses. "We ceased doing marriage ceremonies three weeks ago but I am making available other ministers and officials." On June 26 Judge Money told Alex Woolbright of the Star that they would not begin issuing licenses until July 1. They were still issuing application July 2. What happened?

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