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Open thread


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  • 1. josejoram  |  July 6, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Kennedy did not overtly say " I choose to classify sexual orientation as a strict scrutiny category" but:
    The respondents have not shown a foundation for the conclusion that allowing same-sex marriage will cause the harmful outcomes they describe."

  • 2. StraightDave  |  July 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    That quote sounds like it puts the burden on the respondents to justify their denial. It certainly feels like heightened scrutiny in all but name, whose name Kennedy dares not speak, of course.

  • 3. RnL2008  |  July 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    So with all the religious BS going on….wanted to share this touching exchange between Abby Wambach and her wife Sarah after the US Women's team beat Japan yesterday:…?

  • 4. SethInMaryland  |  July 6, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    South Korean couple challenge national marriage ban

  • 5. 1grod  |  July 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Chief Justice Roy Moore – did you see this piece in today's paper?

  • 6. Elihu_Bystander  |  July 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Supreme Court Decision Affects Veterans

    "The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says it will extend earned benefits to spouses and children of all veterans in all same-sex marriages following the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing the unions nationwide. The decision lifts restrictions on benefits to VA guaranteed home loans, survivor benefits and burial rights. Thousands of veterans may be affected. VA says pending benefit-claims cases involving same-sex marriage will be placed on temporarily hold until the new guidance can be disseminated."

    Why do they say will be placed on temporary hold? New guidance should be oral and effective immediately.

  • 7. bayareajohn  |  July 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    The pending guidance will likely regard the retroactive issue… PENDING claims were made when the law was different. They must now decide how to handle cases brought earlier, a very messy decision as it is nearly certain to have an arbitrary cutoff. Closed cases? How far back? Cases still open? All of them?

  • 8. RnL2008  |  July 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I know because of the implementation delay of the Windsor ruling, myself and other veterans just GOT their spouses added to our disability award letters WITHOUT getting retro pay for the last 2 years.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  July 6, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    The GOP-controlled Senate is on track this year to confirm the fewest judges since 1969, a dramatic escalation of the long-running partisan feud over the ideological makeup of federal courts. The standoff, if it continues through the 2016 elections as expected, could diminish the stamp that President Barack Obama leaves on the judiciary — a less conspicuous but critical part of his legacy. Practically, the makeup of lower-level courts could directly affect a number of Obama’s policies expected to face legal challenges from conservatives.

    Republicans appear willing to absorb criticism that they’re interfering with the prerogative of a president to pick his nominees in the hopes that the GOP can get its own judges installed in 2017, with one of their own in the White House. In the meantime, federal courts could be left with dozens of unfilled vacancies. More than two dozen federal courts have declared “judicial emergencies” because of excessive caseloads caused by vacancies. …

    <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  • 10. Zack12  |  July 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    It is indeed payback for the nuclear option but it had to be done.
    There would be even more vacancies if Democrats hadn't done what they did.

  • 11. itscoldoutside  |  July 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I sure hope Hillary fills those vacancies to the brim with young judges. Unfortunately, she probably has more centrist judges in mind than Obama.

  • 12. Tinmanic  |  July 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    We might be approaching (or at) endgame in Kansas:

    We’ve been chasing conflicting rumors all day, and we can now confirm that same-sex couples can get their name changes processed on their drivers licenses, and that state employees can enroll their same-sex spouses in their state employee health plans. This news has come to us from Equality Kansas members and others in Kansas’ LGBT population throughout the day.

    Meanwhile, the Governor’s office is continuing to deny this is happening, calling reports of recognition to be “premature.”

    We’ll post more news as we get it.

  • 13. A_Jayne  |  July 6, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Does Brownback's office claim to be waiting for an order to do so from Crabtree? Or…?

  • 14. 1grod  |  July 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you. Non recognition of a state's own marriage licenses [except for vital statistics] is beyond belief to an non-American. And the unwillingness of the judiciary to confront the injustice is equally confounding. This positive movement is a relief as is the information in this article:

  • 15. Mike_Baltimore  |  July 6, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    As of about 8:00 PM Eastern (7:00 PM Central) today (probably earlier), it would appear that the dam in Kansas has developed a crack – the DMV is now allowing people to change names on driver's licenses.
    (… )

  • 16. VIRick  |  July 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    TEXAS: Hood County Clerk Caves, Issues Marriage License To Gay Couple; Couple Still Suing

    "Bloomberg" reports:

    A gay couple who sued a rural Texas county clerk over a delay in the issuance of a marriage license received the certificate just hours after filing the complaint. Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton say they won’t drop their lawsuit though until the clerk’s office agrees to issue marriage licenses to “all couples, gay and straight, without delay.” They also want their legal fees paid by the county. Cato and Stapleton were repeatedly turned away last week by the clerk’s office in Hood County, about a half-hour southwest of the Fort Worth Federal Court where they filed suit Monday (6 July 2015). They said they were told it would take “at least three weeks,” because the county needed to have paperwork reprinted in a gender-neutral fashion.

    The men said they have been “waiting over 27 years to marry” and were “humiliated” by county employees’ refusal. Katie Lang, the county clerk, had said she won’t personally issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it violates her religious beliefs. She said someone else in her office would do so as soon as proper forms are supplied, according to a statement on the county clerk’s website. The couple’s lawyer said he provided the clerk with copies of corrected Texas state marriage-license applications from the state’s website. They were told a different form was still needed, according to the complaint.

    Today's marriage license was hand-written.

  • 17. Fortguy  |  July 6, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    So how are the local haters responding? Like small brats throwing a tantrum in the supermarket cereal aisle when mommy won't buy the big box of Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bombs:

    Sam Hart, Texas Monthly: Hood County Residents Try to Ban LGBT Children's Books From Library

    Seriously. I'm not making this up. I mean, really.

  • 18. 1grod  |  July 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    52 AL counties now issue licenses which brings the percentage of citizens residing in counties issuing licenses to same sex couples to 89%. Median population in remaining [non issuing] counties is 22597. Two of the counties mentioned were counted in Equality AL count on July 2, and mentioned in an earlier thread. Only county not issuing now that was issuing on February 18's high point is Crenshaw. Why that county? …. Well past closing hour for parties to make submission to Alabama Supreme Court.. The matter before them is the lifting of the temproary injunction before July 21 – end of the potential appeal period in Obergefell. Nice that the 5th Circuit's Court of Appeals was able to address the three states' cases before the 21st.

  • 19. allan120102  |  July 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Autauga and Blount have stop issuing marriage licenses not sure why though.

  • 20. 1grod  |  July 7, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Allan, apparently in one of the counties the individual charged with this responsibility has resigned. Henry County keeps postponing. Initially, said would begin July 1, then July 7, however on the 6th, David Money said he plans to continue not issuing licenses until after the 25-day period in which the parties involved in the Supreme Court case can file petitions for rehearing. “(The) Henry County Probate Office will closely monitor the litigation process as we continue to communicate with the Alabama Probate Judges Association, state officials and attorneys representing both sides of the issue,” Money said in an emailed statement. “We are awaiting final clarification that will give us clear direction as to if and when we are to resume the issuance of marriage licenses. As has been our intent from the beginning, we will abide by all Federal and State laws related to the issuance of marriage licenses. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to the citizens of Henry County.” Amend above count: 51. Time to place pressure on Money. Why has not the 11th Circuit Appeals Court declared itself? The AL Supreme Court could also make a positive contribution today by lifting its temporary injunction.

  • 21. RnL2008  |  July 6, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Here is another IDIOT who DOESN'T understand that this Country has NEVER been a Christian Nation, our Constitution is NOT based on the Bible and Moses was NOT an original Founding Father……this Senator in South Carolina needs to understand that:

    The man says the word "STAND" seven times in this short article…….he might want to Stand up for ALL of the people in South Carolina….NOT just those who claim to be religious!!!

  • 22. VIRick  |  July 6, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Big Gay Weddings Across Texas

    The capital of Texas and largest city of Texas both held joint ceremonies for same-sex couples this past weekend. Even though the state's attorney general is empowering county clerks to deny marriage certificates to same-sex couples in Texas, most same-sex pairs only had love on their mind this weekend.

    Two mass weddings took place, one in Austin, the other in Houston. "The Big Gay Wedding" celebration was held on the steps of the state capitol Saturday afternoon, Independence Day. Local businesses donated flowers, music services, and photography for the weddings, which involved about 50 couples. Many expressed incredulity that they could finally marry in Texas.

    “So I say, we married before God 26 years ago and we married, finally, with the validation of the United States and State of Texas today,” Abigail McNeely told the "Austin American-Statesman" after marrying Kaye Draper.

    Over in Houston, "Texas' Big Legal Wedding" took place at the altar of Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. Forty couples wed Sunday at the church, part of an LGBT-affirming denomination. "It's a great day. We're celebrating," Julie Macleod told Houston TV station KTRK. "And it's just been a long time waiting for this to happen. It's finally here. We couldn't be happier."

    Another mass wedding is planned for downtown Houston on Friday, 10 July 2015.

  • 23. VIRick  |  July 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Ohio Supreme Court Orders Use of Gender-Neutral Language

    Columbus, OH — The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the use of gender-neutral references in family court cases in place of words such as husband and wife, following the US Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing marriage between same-sex couples across the country. The Ohio high court says the order remains in place until court rules and forms are updated to reflect such changes.

    The court’s order was issued on Friday, 26 June 2015, the day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. The Ohio order also includes father, mother, parent, and spouse in its description of terms expressing familial relationships.

  • 24. VIRick  |  July 6, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    "Miller v. Davis" (federal class-action suit against Rowan County KY Clerk who won't issue marriage licenses to anyone)

    A hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for Monday, 13 July 2015 at noon, in Ashland KY before Judge David L. Bunning.

  • 25. Tony MinasTirith  |  July 7, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Lets hope several straight couples are incensed that they have to go to another county to get their marriage license and these recalcitrant clerks get sued by the rest of the str8 constituents in their counties.

  • 26. DJSNOLA  |  July 7, 2015 at 6:12 am

    This is what we want… overreach by the bigots will seriously backfire.

  • 27. guitaristbl  |  July 7, 2015 at 11:12 am

    This should be interesting..If she does not issue licenses to anyone does she break any federal law even ? Maybe this should have been filed in state court..

  • 28. StraightDave  |  July 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    As long as the state offers marriage licenses to qualified people, any denial even to opposite-sex couple violates equal protection. Just because they're also depriving straight people doesn't magically make a SS denial legal. Two wrongs don't make a right. It makes 2 separate lawsuits.

    Both couples have been denied access to an available state function. Due process issue, at least. Only if the state got out of the marriage business altogether, might they get away with it. But that won't happen. The notion that they can invent some clever method by which they can harm only SS couples is ludicrous. Jim Crow dies hard.

  • 29. VIRick  |  July 6, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    "Strawser v. Strange" (Alabama federal class-action marriage case)

    Today, 6 July 2015, Judge Granade issued an order denying Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis's request for a hearing on his amended motion to withdraw as a class representative.

  • 30. allan120102  |  July 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Sorry my ignorance but what does that mean? Isn't he already issuing same sex marriage licenses?

  • 31. VIRick  |  July 6, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Judge Granade is using the probate judges of Mobile and Baldwin Counties as "examples" so that when she rules in this class-action suit, her ruling will apply to ALL 67 probate judges throughout Alabama. The one from Mobile County has been attempting to weasel out of it, but she won't let him.

    Earlier on, he was not complying, but now he is. However, in the interval, the lawsuit was filed, and then expanded. Basically, today, Judge Granade said, "Cry if you want to, but the case will proceed."

  • 32. 1grod  |  July 7, 2015 at 5:17 am

    Rick: I might have describe Judge Granade's order differently: Any and all of the 67 probate judges who are issuing any marriage licenses. As I understand it: Bibbe ( pop: 22,597), Clarke ( 25161), Elmore (79303), Geneve (26760), Houston(101,547), Pike (32899) and Washington (17581) are not issuing to any one. It will be recalled that Elmore Co was a party to the AL Supreme Court March 3 2015 decision in Ex parte State of Alabama ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute, Alabama Citizens Action Program and John Enslen, in his official capacity as Judge of Probate for Elmore County in the emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus.

  • 33. VIRick  |  July 7, 2015 at 12:37 am

    A Case of Terminal Ass-holitis from the Texas Outback:

    Per "Dallas Morning News"

    Irion County TX County Clerk Issues a ‘Declaration … of Defense of Natural Marriage’

    AUSTIN – The county clerk in tiny (in population) Irion County (Mertzon), southwest of San Angelo, is standing firm on her decision to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, outlining her opposition in a “declaration of obedience to law and defense of natural marriage. Molly Criner, clerk in the West Texas county, wrote her response to the US Supreme Court’s recent marriage ruling on Saturday, 4 July. In it, she quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., referenced Thomas Jefferson and cited the court’s Dred Scott decision.

    “I … shall resist unlawful federal or state court encroachments upon the prerogative of the people of Texas to protect natural marriage, and shall only issue marriage licenses consistent with Texas law, so help me God,” she wrote in her conclusion.

    The “declaration” was released on Monday, 6 July 2015, by the Liberty Counsel, an Orlando-based non-profit firm that focuses on religious issues. The group, which has ties to Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, is providing pro bono counsel to Criner. “Like Molly, each of us should vow not to be intimidated but, instead, to stand united for our God-given liberties and the rule of law,” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder, said in a news release.

    Though most Texas county clerks are complying with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, pockets of opposition remain. Criner’s stance was publicized on the same day that the Hood County Clerk’s Office backed down on its pledge to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That decision came only after a gay couple from Granbury sued the county.

    It’s unclear how that situation might play out in Irion County, population 1,573. Reached by phone, Criner declined to expound upon the “declaration” and instead referred back to the two-page explanation itself.

    According to Balletopedia, Irion County scored a grade of D- in its statewide transparency rating. But her phone number is listed: (325)835-2421.

  • 34. RnL2008  |  July 7, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Hold her in Contempt or have some Gay or Lesbian couple go apply for a Marriage License and when NOT issued….file a lawsuit against her specifically……..these folks DON'T get it, NO ONE gives a damn about their personal religious beliefs….either DO your job or resign…….that's it!!!

  • 35. VIRick  |  July 7, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Rose, this "event" is being staged by Liberty Counsel who are continuing to look for "martyrs." Irion County, like Hood County, falls within the area of Texas that pertains to the Federal District Court in Ft. Worth. The Hood County case is a class-action suit, so she will be specifically bound by that decision.

    The latest Texas county-by-county update from Balletopedia shows:

    205 Issuing
    -38 Not issuing (technical problems)
    –8 Not issuing
    –3 Uncertain

    Hood County was shown as "issuing," while Irion County was shown as "Not issuing, technical problems."

  • 36. RnL2008  |  July 7, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Umm, yea, technical difficulties because the umm clerk has NOTHING between her ears!!!

    I wonder if folks know that Liberty Counsel is a LOUSY Law Firm and EVERY lawyer should be DISBARRED for being lousy advisers!!!

  • 37. Tony MinasTirith  |  July 7, 2015 at 3:35 am

    I think more than martyrdom they're looking for. They're looking for headlines…headlines to outrage evangelicals and conservatives. SEE WE TOLD YOU SO! GAY AGENDA, PERSECUTE AND PROSECUTE CHRISTIANS. GAYS WANT TO PUT CHRISTIANS IN PRISON. NEXT ON THEIR AGENDA, BUTT SEX EDUCATION TO OUR KINDERGARTNERS.

    This is their MO. Make themselves look like Martyrs and Victims and Gays like Pedophiles and Sex Crazed Perverts.

  • 38. DJSNOLA  |  July 7, 2015 at 6:16 am

    You are right about this so its to our advantage to make these cases quick and clean to wrap them up. However, we have some advantage in making the evangelicals angry. They like to overreach because just like many other people in society these days, evangelicals live in a bubble thinking the rest of the world is like them. Well it isnt like them and it doesnt think like them, but nothing wrong with an opponent that is tone deaf.

  • 39. guitaristbl  |  July 7, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Am I a bad person for not giving a damn about what a county with less than 1600 population does ? Chances are a same sex couple will never cross the door of that office anyway..

  • 40. StraightDave  |  July 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    That's probably why they chose that county. They get to make a lot of noise but with low risk of any real people actually suing their asses.

  • 41. DJSNOLA  |  July 7, 2015 at 6:21 am

    What does everyone think about the clerk in Kentucky wanting marriages licenses online. While I dont like the person and his bigoted reasons for wanting this, taking him out of this I still think its a great idea. One this could save money by needing less people in these offices, two it would prevent these religious people from having this office from which to preach their hate, since its role would change dramatically to being more tech oriented. Just wondering what everyone thinks about this!

  • 42. wes228  |  July 7, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Doesn't this paperwork have to be signed and witnessed? I think there could be potential for fraud if it's done online.

    Maybe allow the form to be pre-filled online, but you have to go in to sign and prove your identity when you pick the license up. That would still save time.

  • 43. DJSNOLA  |  July 7, 2015 at 7:28 am

    There is certainly away to authenticate with other documents online. Seems it could be done! This is definitely one way to get people religious objections out of the way.

  • 44. wes228  |  July 7, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Don't underestimate religious zealots' desire to self-aggrandize and look down on others. There still has to be a human that looks over the online application to determine that they are eligible to marry. "Clicking 'Accept' on the online form violates my religious freedom!!!"

  • 45. A_Jayne  |  July 7, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Indeed – just like those "religious charities," the management of which are unwilling to "violate their religious beliefs" by filling out the required form to exempt them from (but allow for independent coverage of) no-cost pregnancy-prevention in compliance with the ACA…

  • 46. F_Young  |  July 7, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Gay marriage now has overwhelming support in Northern Ireland – poll

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