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Equality news round-up: Lower court wrangling over marriage equality continues, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

ks– The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that same-sex couples must be provided legal recognition. The case arose in Italy. You can read the decision itself here.

– In the Kansas marriage case, the plaintiffs argue against dismissing the case as moot, and ask for an injunction keeping the ban struck down.

– The same situation from Kansas is arising in Arkansas.

– Some LGBT activists don’t agree with the form the LGBT civil rights bill is taking. The bill would seem to open up the 1964 Civil Rights Act to amendments which could go badly, and the bill, according to some activists, doesn’t do enough to address LGBT people at the intersections, as in, it doesn’t do enough for LGBT people of color, or LGBT disabled people, and so on.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. __M  |  July 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Hi to everyone! .. I need some help please: have the 25 days for reconsideration already passed or do they have to be working or week days? Can anyone please help? I really want Obergefell to be 110% the law of the land.. Actually I'm constantly checking the official SCTOUS website to see if the "mandamus" has already been published. Thanks a lot!

  • 2. __M  |  July 22, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Just found this at "Equality Case Files" Facebook fanpage.

    Full article here:

    "Houston and Henry counties will resume issuing marriage licenses Wednesday, and this time, same-sex couples are included.
    The two counties’ probate judges announced their decisions in separate emailed statements to the Dothan Eagle Tuesday evening.
    Houston County Probate Judge Patrick Davenport hasn’t issued any marriage licenses since February.
    Henry County Probate Judge David Money suspended issuing marriage licenses to any couples last month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples had a right to marry.
    On Tuesday, a 25-day window during which a petition for rehearing could be filed by the parties in that case expired.

    Anyway, appart from this, would be better to see the official mandamus released as well!

  • 3. 1grod  |  July 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    AL Chamber,Clay and Coosa Counties were also issuing and receiving applications for licenses. As part of Patrick Davenport's media email“having determined after consultation with the Houston County Attorney that all legitimate legal options have been exhausted…. Money in his media email said “After consultation with the Alabama Probate Judges Association, the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama as well as with attorneys for those associations, and after recognizing that all legal options have been exhausted.”,

  • 4. StraightDave  |  July 22, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    "all legal options"

    as opposed to the extra-legal AL SC shenanigans. At least the rest of the state seems to recognize reality when it smacks them upside the head.

    I see 5 counties listed here, but I thought there were quite a few more slackers. Do we still have more drama in the pipeline?

  • 5. 1grod  |  July 23, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Evan Wolfson told July 21 that a great deal of work remains to be done in Alabama and elsewhere across the U.S. Freedom to Marry has been part of a larger movement to end discrimination throughout the United States,

  • 6. sfbob  |  July 22, 2015 at 10:53 am

    The 25 days have indeed passed as of COB (or perhaps midnight) yesterday. It was a joke to begin with since all of the parties with standing (the four states from the Sixth Circuit whose laws were overturned) had announced immediately that they had no intention of requesting reconsideration.

  • 7. __M  |  July 22, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Thanks Sfbob! ..Do you (or anyone out here he!) know if/when SCOTUS will release any "mandamus" or enter any order of formal judgment, please? Thanks again!

  • 8. VIRick  |  July 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    There is no such thing (except, perhaps, in the minds of certain individuals in Alabama, grasping at straws to delay). Supreme Court decisions are effective and final from Announcement Day, in this instance from 26 June 2015.

    The mandate only applies at the appeals court level.

  • 9. ebohlman  |  July 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    I believe there's a requirement for a mandate when the
    SCOTUS overturns a State supreme court decision, but not when (as in this case) it overturns a Federal appellate court decision.

  • 10. sfbob  |  July 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Oh, it isn't "mandamus." That's something a bit different. If a court or someone with the responsibility to perform an act were to refuse to perform that act than a writ of mandamus would be requested and issued.

    The question is about a mandate. There's debate as to whether one is even required in the case of Obergefell. I'm not a lawyer; perhaps someone more knowledgeable could weigh in but I was under the impression that the decision itself serves as a mandate in that it acts as an instruction to the affected parties (in this case the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan as well as any other states with similar marriage equality bans as of 6/26/15) that a decision has been made and must be implemented.

  • 11. __M  |  July 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks very much again, sfbob. You're aboslutely right, and I really meant "mandate", but I just realized that I unconsciously wrote "mandamus".. Spanish-speakers problems haha. In any case, it's really good that we don't need one! Thank you!

  • 12. __M  |  July 22, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Cool, didn't know that, tbh. Thanks very much.
    Finally, I copy and paste a comment I left in the previous article for you, please:
    "Hi Rick. First of all, thanks a lot for your always useful data and feedback!!.
    I have a question for u please -as you are a V. Islander you may be able to help me.. Are the VI following Obergefell and issuing marriage licences at the moment? Do you know if both the Gov. and Liutenant Gov. signed the already written executive order? Thanks a lot and, as a Spanish-speaker, sorry for any mistake on my writing. Best regards!"

    Thanks again!

  • 13. VIRick  |  July 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    The Governor definitely signed the executive order on 9 July 2015. I have no idea whether or not the Lt. Governor "attested" to the governor's signature, as there's been no mention of it in the press. He was out of the territory at the time. He since returned, and then departed again today.

    Still, it doesn't matter. On 13 July 2015, the Presiding Judge of the Virgin Islands Superior Court, Michael Dunston, accepted two marriage applications from same-sex couples, one from St. Croix and one from St. Thomas. There's an 8-day wait here before couples can be married, and that waiting time expired yesterday. I have not yet found any report that either couple has gotten married, although they are now legally able to do so. The same judge stated that he would be willing to marry either or both couples after the 8-day wait (or any other same-sex couple who might apply).

    Although written in a gender-neutral format, the FAQ of the court's website does not directly address the point of same-sex couples.

  • 14. VIRick  |  August 9, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    As an up-date to the above post, in the VI, a same-sex couple successfully obtained their marriage license from the court on 30 June 2015, the very day the governor announced his intention of issuing his executive order. As disclosed well after-the-fact, they were thus quietly married in a private ceremony on 8 July 2015, one day BEFORE the executive order was even issued.

    In retrospect, the VI Superior Court proved to be way ahead of everyone else here in forging ahead in compliance with the Supreme Court decision. Plus, as it turns out, we actually beat Puerto Rico (although not publicly known at the time) where the first same-sex marriage (of two of the plaintiffs from their marriage case) didn't take place until 17 July 2015.

  • 15. VIRick  |  July 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Alabama Gay Couple Turned down 4 Times Finally Obtains Marriage License

    After being turned away four times this year, Keith Ingram and Albert Pigg were able to obtain their marriage license in Houston County on 22 July 2015. They were married a few minutes later outside the Houston County Probate Office surrounded by family and friends.

    "It was just a relief that finally Houston County will follow the law and treat all citizens as equal under the law," Ingram, who works with Equality Wiregrass, said. Ingram and Pigg had been leading the charge for rallies in Alabama counties that refused to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on 26 June that made same-sex marriage legal in every state.

  • 16. davepCA  |  July 22, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    This story just made my day. Thanks, Rick!!!!

    Edit: And I LOVE this quote from the article's comment section:

    "Folks, the 'speak now' part is over and we are well into the 'forever hold your peace' part of this movement."

  • 17. VIRick  |  July 22, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Dave, thanks for finding that gem of a line!!

    I tend to not read the comments section of <a href=",” target=”_blank”>, as too many of them are insanely vile/ignorant/insulting.

    But that couple is so ridiculously cute! As soon as they learned that marriage licenses were being issued to everyone this morning, they both took off from work, ran to the court house, had their marriage license issued, got married in front of friends and family outside the court house, and then went back to work.

  • 18. 1grod  |  July 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Rick: Houston Co, the 11/67 highest populated county in the state, falls in line. That leaves Autuage, Bibb, Chambers, Choctaw, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Covington, Geneva, Marengo and Washington; with Coosa being the only county where there apparently is hope of a change. Chambers and Clay had been taking applications but are now listed by Equality Alabama as will not be issuing any licenses .… As Ian has said in another thread, Alabama will be the last state to achieve full implementation of equality. Sad! Scottie, you have been quiet on this matter. Given that you are a Baldwin Co resident, your viewpoint on how this will play out is welcomed

  • 19. VIRick  |  July 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    You skipped mentioning both Crenshaw and Pike Counties as not issuing to anyone.

    Your 12, plus these 2, means that 14 counties are still not issuing. If Coosa were to begin, then the total not issuing would drop down to 13 not issuing.

    Either way, Alabama continues to remain the least compliant.

  • 20. 1grod  |  July 23, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Rick: so right with the population range for these 14 counties being 10966 (Coosa) and 55514 (Autuaga) and the median population being 21,812.

  • 21. 1grod  |  July 23, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Tuscaloosa News on July 22 counted 9 AL counties: Bibb, Autauga, Cleburne, Marengo, Choctaw, Clarke, Washington, Pike and Geneva counties that are out of the marriage business. Hope for the five others?

  • 22. Bruno71  |  July 23, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I was of the understanding that Coosa would issue soon if not already. Clay seems more unclear, and Chambers just won't say. But I think it's pretty obvious looking at the Chambers clerk's FB pages that she's very averse to issuing if not fully dedicated to noncompliance. Ballotpedia also lists Greene County as not issuing due to a technical problem.

  • 23. Bruno71  |  July 23, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Crenshaw is issuing:

  • 24. 1grod  |  July 23, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Bruno, thanks. Here is the media release for Crenshaw Co: These two counties moves the percentage of state population in counties issuing licenses to 94.5%, LGBT community needs a break in the southwest 4 counties.

  • 25. Bruno71  |  July 23, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    The only way any of those southwest 4 county probate judges capitulate is if the Alabama Supreme Court tells them to. And I really don't see that happening. Perhaps some federal lawsuits will emerge.

  • 26. 1grod  |  July 23, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Ok, Bruno; you appear to be informed as to the reality on the ground, If Autauga Co had been issuing licenses to same sex couple(s and the individual resigned, what effort is being made to appoint a replacement. How long? Could [would] the second judge or the deputy probate judge in Jefferson Co be seconded there? That county's inclusion would be the percentage to near 96%.

  • 27. Bruno71  |  July 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Sorry, I only know what I've found online. There hasn't been too much info I can find about Autauga County, but if the judge resigned, there's a good chance licenses will be available sooner than later I'd think. I don't know anything about the processes to appoint, elect, or substitute a new judge.

  • 28. guitaristbl  |  July 23, 2015 at 4:35 am

    The ruling of ECHR is quite important and, apart from Italy, it could get things going in other countries as well.

  • 29. JayJonson  |  July 23, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Indiana clerk fired for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples files suit, alleging religious discrimination:

  • 30. Rick55845  |  July 23, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I'll be happy to see the courts begin to deal with these religious-liberty based derelictions of duty.

    I wonder if Indiana SB 101, which was signed into law, and just went into effect July 1, supports this government employee's position? From my reading of the law a few months ago, it wasn't clear to me whether or not it would.

    In any case, let the wrangling begin!

  • 31. DrBriCA  |  July 23, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I'm also interested to see how this plays out in federal court (both with the Kentucky case and now Indiana), especially so soon after the SCOTUS ruling. And we now have the EEOC ruling and (if they choose to acknowledge it) the recent ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. There are a lot of cards stacked in our favor.

    And again, I really want lawyers on our side to grill the this clerk about whether she refused licenses to previously divorced couples, interfaith couples, pagans, atheists, etc. If not, then she's just using religion as an excuse that needs to be put to rest. And even if this were religiously motivated, a belief is different from a religious practice (such as using peyote in a spiritual ritual, which was the original trigger for the RFRA).

  • 32. scream4ever  |  July 23, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I thought the EEOC ruling only applied to employment?

  • 33. DrBriCA  |  July 23, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Sure, but it doesn't hurt to have 3 pro-LGBT rulings all about equal protection, discrimination, and human rights within one month's timespan. It may not directly relate, but the EEOC ruling does help boost LGBT as a protected class under the sex discrimination umbrella.

  • 34. sfbob  |  July 23, 2015 at 10:55 am

    "Issuing a marriage license on behalf of the state" is clearly not a religious practice. Let's just go with that one.

  • 35. RnL2008  |  July 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I would agree with ya…..if we start allowing folks to NOT do their job because of their SPECIFIC deeply-held religious beliefs ONLY as it may apply to Gays and Lesbians…..whose next to be discriminated against?

  • 36. DJSNOLA  |  July 25, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Its a shame we have to pull the whos next card but its true. One hopes one day discriminating against us would be enough but we still arent there yet.

  • 37. RnL2008  |  July 25, 2015 at 11:07 am

    It is a shame, but the point is why should these certain individuals be allowed to use their religious beliefs ONLY to discriminate against Gay and Lesbian couples? Why SHOULDN'T I be allowed to use my deeply-held religious beliefs to discriminate against who I want to? I mean this is why so far SCOTUS has ensured that one's religious beliefs AREN'T allowed to be used to discriminate…….and I DON'T believe these folks are going to win this battle either, though I'm not as sure as I was on our winning our right to marry.

  • 38. RnL2008  |  July 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Hey Jay, thanks for posting this and my issue is that these individuals are trying to use their supposed beliefs SOLELY against Gay and Lesbian couples because basically there is NO problem with this person issuing licenses to couples who have been divorced before……this case is NO different than the ones against the bakers, photographers and florists who have lost so far because they opted to use their religious beliefs to deny services and goods…….this woman will probably lose as well because if this is allowed, then it has to be allowed with regards to public accommodation laws as well…….simply I don't see her being successful.

  • 39. DrBriCA  |  July 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Actually, the case is different from the bakers, florists, etc. Those ones at least aren't employed by the very taxpayers they're refusing! But discrimination is wrong, and taking a photo of a couple or baking a cake or issuing a license does not mean you're performing the wedding and blessing it. You're simply providing a service the couple needs or requires.

  • 40. RnL2008  |  July 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    To a degree that is true, but in my opinion……one still SHOULDN'T be allowed to use their beliefs to discriminate in my opinion……and these folks who are doing so, just don't get it!!!

  • 41. F_Young  |  August 8, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Malaysia: Not a Crime: A Gorgeous, Stirring Cartoon About the Status of Trans People in Malaysia

    This is a moving true story by Malaysian cartoonist Kazimir Lee Iskander. Well worth the read if you have not used up all your free articles on Slate.

    As suggested by 1grod, I am posting this in this older thread because it is much more accessible to readers that the latest "Open Thread," which is overloaded. I encourage everybody else to do post in THIS thread instead of the latest "Open Thread."

  • 42. F_Young  |  August 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Venezuela's first transgender candidate to run for Congress

  • 43. VIRick  |  August 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Mexico: Challenges from Campeche and Nuevo León before the Supreme Court

    Analizan Invalidar Ley que Prohíbe a Gays Adoptar en Campeche
    (Analysis Invalidating the Law which Prohibits Gays from Adopting in Campeche)

    (En 7 Agosto 2015), la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) comenzó el análisis de una acción de inconstitucionalidad en la que se plantea invalidar un artículo de la legislación del estado de Campeche en el que se prohíbe la adopción a parejas del mismo sexo. El proyecto de resolución fue presentado por la ministra Beatriz Luna Ramos, en el cual también se propone declarar la inconstitucionalidad del artículo que impide a las parejas monoparentales compartir la guardia y custodia de un menor de edad, particularmente cuando dichas parejas son partícipes de una sociedad de convivencia.

    La acción de inconstitucionalidad con número de expediente 8/2014 fue promovida por la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Campeche en contra de ambas prohibiciones previstas en el artículo 19 de la Ley Regulatoria de las Sociedades Civiles de Convivencia de esa misma entidad. La ministra Luna Ramos sostuvo en su proyecto que la norma impugnada es contraria a los principios de igualdad y no discriminación que establece la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. El debate de la ley impugnada continuará el próximo lunes.

    (On 7 August 2015, Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice began analyzing a claim of unconstitutionality which would invalidate an article of the law of the state of Campeche that prohibits same-sex couples from adopting. The draft resolution was introduced by Justice Beatriz Luna Ramos, who also intends to declare unconstitutional the article that prevents same-sex couples from sharing the guardianship of a minor, particularly when those partners are in a coexistence relationship (civil union).

    The claim of unconstitutionality is put forth by the Commission on Human Rights of Campeche and is directed against both prohibitions provided for in Article 19 of the Regulatory Law of Civil Societies of Coexistence of that state. Justice Luna Ramos said in her draft that the contested law is contrary to the principles of equality and non-discrimination established by the Constitution of the United Mexican States. The discussion of the contested law continues on Monday.)

    En el mismo tema, la Corte resumió su competencia para analizar un juicio de amparo presentado por 48 parejas del mismo sexo que impugnan el código civil de Nuevo León en el que se limita el matrimonio y el concubinato a parejas de hombre y mujer.

    (Also, on 7 August 2015, in a separate case, the Court summarized its competence to analyze an injunction filed by 48 same-sex couples who have challenged the civil code of Nuevo León which presently limits marriage and cohabitation to hetero couples.)

  • 44. F_Young  |  August 9, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Thanks for posting this and for translating it, Rick.

    I know how time-consuming and frustrating it can be to translate a text. Despite one's best efforts, one can never be sure of the best translation because words can be ambiguous or can have different meanings in different countries, and speakers and authors may not even understand what they actually said.

    So, I appreciate that you include the original text. In mass media articles, the original text is never included and there is nothing to show that the quotes attributed to the people at the heart of the story were in fact never spoken by the speakers since they do not actually speak that language. I wonder how many international incidents or even wars have resulted from this unfortunate practice.

    The bibles (yes, plural) are an the most egregious examples of the havoc created by hidden mis(translations).

  • 45. VIRick  |  August 8, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Analizará Congreso si Cometerá Desacato para Negar el Matrimonio Gay en BCS
    (Analysis Whether the BCS Congress will Commit Contempt by Denying Gay Marriage)

    La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS). El diputado presidente de la Mesa Directiva del Congreso del Estado, Juan Domingo Carballo Ruiz, responde evasivamente acerca de la homologación del Código Civil de BCS según las nuevas disposiciones de la Suprema Corte acerca del refrendo al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, aunque reconoce que la moción ya ha sido recibida por los legisladores sudcalifornianos, asegura desconocer si se votará antes del 31 de agosto, fecha en que la actual legislatura será renovada; asimismo, dijo que se tendrá que “revisar” la posibilidad de desatender la jurisprudencia del Poder Judicial y negar la unión legal de los homosexuales alegando soberanía estatal, como lo sugiere el Frente Ciudadano por la Familia Natural.

    Por otro lado, se le recordó que el presidente del Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado (TSJE), Daniel Gallo Rodríguez, entregó en marzo de este año al Congreso del Estado una serie de iniciativas con proyecto de decreto con las que se buscaba la legalización del matrimonio homosexual, la inclusión del concubinato y la regularización de las técnicas de reproducción asistida.

    Repitió que “este nuevo código de familia está en comisiones, y una vez que la comisión correspondiente emita el dictamen”, los tres diputados que conforman el periodo extraordinario de sesiones contarán con “tiempo para conocerlo”, y si se esto ocurre antes del 1 de septiembre, votarán al respecto.

    (La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS). The deputy president of the BCS State Congress, Juan Domingo Carballo Ruiz, answered evasively about the approval of the new Civil Code for BCS under the mandate of Mexico's Supreme Court regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage, while recognizing that the motion has already been received by the legislators sudcalifornianos. Yet, he was unaware whether they will vote before 31 August, when the current term will be renewed; also he said they will have to "revisit" the possibility of disregarding the decisions of the judiciary in denying the legal union of same-sex couples, claiming state sovereignty, as suggested by the Citizens Front for the Natural Family.

    On the other hand, it should be recalled that the President of the Superior Court of BCS, Daniel Gallo Rodríguez, in March 2015 delivered to the BCS State Congress a series of proposed initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage, including concubinage and the regularization of assisted reproduction techniques.

    He repeated that "this new family code is in the commission stage, and once the relevant committee issues their opinion," the three deputies who make up the Special Session will then have "time to decide on it," and if this occurs before 1 September, they will then vote on the matter.

  • 46. 1grod  |  August 9, 2015 at 1:49 am publishes position against replacing $45 licenses with $900 contract drawn up by lawyers. Half baked idea is what the opinion piece says. Straight are cutting of their nose to spite their face. Non-straights have lots of experience with nuptial contracts, many would just need to submit existing ones.

  • 47. 1grod  |  August 9, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Hard v Bentley in AL's Middle District (federal) Court: Paul Hard's opinion piece post decision

  • 48. 1grod  |  August 9, 2015 at 2:32 am

    A Christian perspective on marriage equality
    To those Probate court judges who still refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay (or any) couples, I urge you to reconsider your decision. You took an oath of office to follow the law. Show grace, follow the law and issue licenses to all, or adhere to your oath of office, follow your beliefs and resign.
    To conservative Christians that believe businesses should not be required to provide goods or services to gay couples, I urge you to look to Jesus for your instructions. In Matthew 5 we are told "whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you". Show gay couples the grace you have been shown.

  • 49. EricKoszyk  |  August 9, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Another good site is which gives a daily rundown of all news relating to marriage equality worldwide. Unfortunately it doesn't give analysis or commentary.

  • 50. EricKoszyk  |  August 9, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I contacted "Equality Case Files" on Facebook with our questions regarding this site.

    Here was their response. Hope it helps. Apparently, Scottie's computer is out for repair and he'll restart posting when it's fixed.

    "Hi Eric, we don't have any connection to Equality on Trial, other than the fact that they – like many other sites – frequently rely on information provided by EQCF for their content. However, I did reach out to Scottie Thomaston with your query and he said I could pass along the following information:

    His computer is out for repair and he doesn't have any other way to post for now. He said he will resume posting as soon as it's fixed.

    I tried finding a contact for the site and couldnt' find any way to reach them other than a place to report technical issues. So Scottie said you can contact him directly if you have any other questions: scottie at couragecampaign dot org

    Hope that's helpful."

  • 51. Bruno71  |  August 9, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Scottie can obviously use Facebook and email, likely from his phone, so he should shoot an email to Jacob or whoever else with access to at least start posting open threads.

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