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Open thread

Community/Meta LGBT Legal Cases

Hey everyone, I’m able to post from my phone now, so I should be posting regularly from now on. My computer is still in the process of being repaired and it’s taking a lot longer than usual.

This is an open thread for discussion.

This week, in a new development, the district court judge who recently decided that the Rowan County clerk can’t refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex or opposite-sex couples has clarified a weird aspect of his order. He had denied a stay but granted a temporary stay, but the language of the order was confusing. The new order clarifies that he did mean to temporarily stay his ruling while the Sixth Circuit decides whether to grant a stay pending appeal. The Request for a stay has been filed in that court but there’s been no decision yet.


  • 1. jpmassar  |  August 21, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Wonder Woman joins fight for gay marriage thanks to Australian illustrator Jason Badower
    <a href="
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  • 2. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 21, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman! Get us out from under Wonder Woman!

    seriously…Get us out from UNDER Wonder Woman.

  • 3. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 21, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Didn't I read that in the Kentucky case, the judge clarified that his temporary stay will expire Aug 31st if there is no extension granted by the sixth. Of course Davis will then appeal to SCOTUS. I hope neither Sutton nor Cook end up on this panel. If this panel were smart, they'd deny extending the stay, forcing Davis to go to SCOTUS, where the case will wind up anyway, and let SCOTUS wade into the matter. If SCOTUS grants or denies a stay b4 final judgement, it will guide the rest of the district and circuit courts below for the duration of this next long road back to SCOTUS.

  • 4. Fortguy  |  August 21, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Ballotpedia has published their updated maps. In summary, there are now only three states without universal compliance to Obergefell:

    Alabama (11 counties not issuing licenses to anyone gay or straight): Autauga, Bibb, Chambers, Choctaw, Clarke, Cleburne, Covington, Geneva, Marengo, Pike, Washington

    Kentucky: Rowan (no licensing gay or straight); Clinton, Whitley (technical issues); Knott (unresponsive to query)

    Texas: Irion (same-sex refusal only); Loving, Mills (technical issues)

  • 5. JayJonson  |  August 22, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Isn't there a county in South Dakota where a clerk has said that she will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? Apparently, no same-sex couple has applied for a license yet, but I think she is the subject of a judicial ethics complaint.

  • 6. Bruno71  |  August 22, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    I think that's in Wyoming:

  • 7. JayJonson  |  August 23, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Thanks, Bruno. The Wyoming case is the one I was thinking of. The clerk is under investigation for having said that she would not issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple if one requested it.

  • 8. VIRick  |  August 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    During the first month of marriage equality, statewide, South Dakota issued only 40 marriage licenses to same-sex couples, 20 of which were issued in Pennington County (Rapid City), and 5 more in Minnehaha County (Sioux Falls). Thus, at maximum, the remaining 15 were issued in 15 other counties. However, South Dakota has 66 counties. So, based on that simple math alone, there remain at least 49 for which the true answer is "unknown and untested."

    I suspect that that pattern is rather typical of the rural, low-population High Plains. Also, as another example, even after 3 months of marriage equality, a majority of the counties in Oklahoma had not issued a single marriage license to a same-sex couple.

    The matter in Wyoming focusses on the role of the judge as civil marriage officiant, a situation which has been pointed out as a problem, too, in rural Nebraska. There, only the clerk in Dakota County NE won't issue a license to a same-sex couple, and he's hoping against hope none appear until after he can retire in a month.

  • 9. Zack12  |  August 23, 2015 at 1:51 am

    South Dakota doesn't surprise me at all.
    The Dakotas were the last states to have lawsuits filed in and I imagine it's because in two states that already have small populations, you are much less likely to find same sex couples.
    Most of them left for greener hills long ago.

  • 10. VIRick  |  August 23, 2015 at 11:09 am

    "Most of them left for greener hills long ago."

    True enough. Not only are they low population states, but the bulk of who remains live in the very easternmost strip, directly abutting Iowa and Minnesota, two states which obtained marriage equality years before. Think Grand Forks, Fargo, Sioux City (which abuts both), and Omaha. As a result, I was surprised that there were still 5 couples in Sioux City who waited for marriage equality to arrive in their state (unless, of course, those same couples came there from other much more rural areas, knowing they would not be hassled/rejected there).

  • 11. allan120102  |  August 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I do not take ballotpedia that seriously because they do not count Casey county in Kentucky which is not issuing same sex licenses.

  • 12. Bruno71  |  August 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    It is odd that they haven't been listing Casey County, but other than that I think they've done some good work. I wonder about Knott & Clinton Counties in Kentucky, and Loving & Mills Counties in Texas. They've finally taken Green County, Alabama off the list so good news there.

  • 13. VIRick  |  August 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    This news article correctly identifies the Kentucky counties not issuing marriage licenses to anyone:

    Thousands Rally for Clerks Denying Issuance of Marriage Licenses

    Frankfort KY — Three Kentucky county clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples drew thunderous cheers from a crowd gathered at the state capitol on Saturday, 22 August 2015.

    Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis spoke briefly at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky, appearing emotional as she thanked supporters. “I need your prayers … to continue to stand firm in what we believe,” she said to cheers.

    Davis has been sued by the ACLU for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing the licenses. A federal judge has ruled Davis must issue the licenses, but her attorneys are appealing the decision. A crowd of a few thousand, many of them churchgoers from around the state, filled the lawn in the rear of the capitol building, many carrying signs saying “Freedom of religion” and waving American flags.

    The three clerks, Davis of Rowan County (Morehead), Kay Schwartz of Whitley County (Williamsburg), and Casey Davis from Casey County (Liberty), halted all marriage licenses from their offices after the Supreme Court ruling in June that legalized same-sex marriage.

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  August 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Alabama continues to have more non-compliant counties than all other states COMBINED… …and Alabama will be the LAST state to fully comply.

  • 15. Sagesse  |  August 22, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Wedding Day! With Judge Friedman officiating.

    Couple that challenged state's gay marriage ban to wed [SFGate]

  • 16. davepCA  |  August 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm


  • 17. VIRick  |  August 22, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Couple Who Challenged Same-Sex Marriage Ban Finally to Wed

    Southfield MI — April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, the two Michigan women who legally challenged the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, are expected to exchange vows during a ceremony in suburban Detroit. Federal Judge Bernard Friedman, who overturned the state’s ban in 2014, will perform their wedding Saturday afternoon, 22 August 2015, in Southfield.

    “It seems very right to have him be the one to perform the ceremony," DeBoer has said. More than 200 people have been invited to the wedding which is not open to the public, according to DeBoer. DeBoer and Rowse, both hospital nurses, are raising four adopted children at their Hazel Park home.

    In 2012, they sued the state which at the time barred them from jointly adopting each other’s children because same-sex couples couldn’t marry in Michigan. Their case grew into a challenge to a 2004 Michigan constitutional amendment that recognized marriage only between a man and a woman. About 300 same-sex couples were married last year when marriage between same-sex couples was allowed in Michigan for about 24 hours immediately after Judge Friedman struck down the ban, and before the 6th Circuit court could issue a stay. In June, the US Supreme Court said same-sex couples have a right to marry. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan would follow the law and that state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure full compliance.

  • 18. Sagesse  |  August 23, 2015 at 6:23 am

    We thank them for their service… to the cause of marriage equality. All they wanted to do was be able to legally adopt their kids. Oh, and Judge Friedman too, for holding a trial, and officiating the wedding.

    Michigan Couple That Challenged Gay Marriage Ban Wed [ABC News]

    " "Little did I know that you would bring me four beautiful kids … and drag me into the Supreme Court," DeBoer said, the crowd laughing as she read her vows. "I am honored to soon be your legal wife."

    DeBoer and Rowse, both hospital nurses, are raising four adopted children at their Hazel Park home. The children read their own vows during the wedding and said they would take each woman as their "legal mommy."

  • 19. A_Jayne  |  August 23, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Lest it get lost in the history of the case, it was due to Judge Friedman's suggestion that their case was expanded to include marriage equality.

    Initially, they challenged MI's laws that prohibit unmarried couples from adopting – that had been the reason they were given that they could not adopt each other's children. When Judge Friedman heard the beginnings of the case, he advised them to challenge the marriage laws instead – that once they were legally married, those "no unmarried couples" laws would no longer apply.

    As to the statements from the children during the wedding, did the ceremony double as an adoption? Because those kinds of statements are taken from (old enough) children during the process of adoption. Did the judge also advise them to hold a double-duty ceremony?

  • 20. FredDorner  |  August 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I was always amused by the LGBT advocates who were upset at Friedman for what they saw as needless delays in the case, when it was abundantly clear to me that he was doing the couple a huge favor not only by encouraging them to expand the scope of the claim but also by pushing the trial beyond the date of the Windsor ruling.

    As far as the adoptions go, the couple said that's the next step now that the marriage is finalized. Of course that will now be properly handled by the state not by a federal judge like Friedman (unless the state plays game again).

  • 21. A_Jayne  |  August 23, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    "that will now be properly handled by the state not by a federal judge"

    Of course, you are correct. I didn't factor in that a federal judge could not conduct a state function (like adoption).

  • 22. RemC  |  August 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Here's a bit of background on Judge Friedman's evolution towards supporting marriage equality. Our community owes him a debt for pushing the whole issue forward in the 6th District:

  • 23. 1grod  |  August 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    While April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse's initial concerns were about second parent adoption rights, as was AL's Cari Searcy. the path Alabama couples must take is still a challenge as observed by the president of AL probate judges. There is a diversity of opinion in the comment section, many sympathetic.

  • 24. RemC  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Thanks for posting this. When I checked the comments, the first one up was one I felt compelled to respond to. There were a number of ignorant commentators, one in particular who couldn't grasp the concept of love and just focused on sex and the "basic plumbing" issue. As a parent, I just had to throw myself into the muck.

    There is no way that anyone can look at either of these guys and think they are mentally sound enough to raise a child. Most gay parents only have boys to make sex slaves of them.

    @SpencerConstruction35206 Funny you say that, since most of the stories you read about children being abused—and killed—involve heterosexual, biological parents, or boyfriends of the mothers.

  • 25. sfbob  |  August 23, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    You must have been lucky to have been able to read the article; no matter what I do the site simply times out.

  • 26. RemC  |  August 24, 2015 at 5:37 am

    Bob, the title of the article is "Behind The Ruling: A Federal Judge, A Lesbian Law Clerk And A Personal Connection." When I get blocked out of a link, I search for the article title and it gets me in.

  • 27. sfbob  |  August 24, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Thanks Rem; that worked. Some of the comments below the article were pretty atrocious, weren't they?

  • 28. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 22, 2015 at 6:08 am

    I wonder if Rick survived the Hurricane.

  • 29. sfbob  |  August 22, 2015 at 6:18 am

    I don't think the Hurricane Danny is due to arrive in the Virgin Islands until late Sunday or early Monday.

  • 30. VIRick  |  August 22, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Tony, it hasn't gotten here yet.

    Tropical Storm watches have just been posted for all the islands in the chain from Anguilla through to Guadeloupe, inclusively. Danny's still a hurricane, but should weaken to a tropical storm before reaching any islands.

    On its current track, it should pass near or over Antigua and St. Kitts late Sunday into Monday, then very near to Sint Maarten, splitting between the Virgin Islands from mid-day Monday into Tuesday, and run directly into Vieques and Puerto Rico, still as a Tropical Storm, all day Tuesday, continuing along the north shore of the Dominican Republic late Tuesday into Wednesday, again still as a Tropical Storm.

    Everyone can modestly expect 2-4" of rain (much more over higher elevations, which is us) from the event, and the usual flooding. And btw, the real reason I spent so much money yesterday is because I just renewed my car insurance and my federal flood insurance.

  • 31. allan120102  |  August 22, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Danny is a little tiny hurricane and it will probably be an open wave or tropical depression once it cross PR. Once it cross that will be more interesting as the system will encounter favorable conditions to strength.

  • 32. Mike_Baltimore  |  August 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    And to the East of PR (before it reaches PR), will it be a hurricane, an open wave or a tropical depression? The US Virgin Islands are to the East of PR, and thus will be hit by Danny BEFORE PR.

  • 33. VIRick  |  August 22, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    We're only beginning to shut down.

    Seaborne Airlines, which operates a lot of inter-island commuter flights, have already announced that they will begin cancelling flights to islands further east of us from tomorrow, Sunday, 23 August 2015, and will then be shut down entirely on Monday and Tuesday (as they will fly their equipment to Trinidad or Curacao to be out of harm's way).

    Antigua-based LIAT Airlines has cancelled its flights from tomorrow, Sunday, through Tuesday, and will re-locate its equipment for the duration, as well.

    St. Thomas – In anticipation of Hurricane Danny's arrival in the Virgin Islands Monday, the West Indian Company Ltd. has issued an advisory about changes in the cruise ship schedule for next week. "Due to the projected path of Hurricane Danny to the territory, the US Coast Guard will close our port to all inbound traffic at 4 PM, Sunday, 23 August, and completely close the port to all traffic at 4 PM, Monday, 24 August," WICO President and CEO Joseph Boschulte said in a prepared statement.

    The local electric power company has not yet issued a specific date/time as to when they anticipate they will pre-emptively shut off the island's electric supply, but they routinely do this whenever we are threatened by a Hurricane/Tropical Storm. So, whenever that occurs, that's when I will lose contact (sometime late Monday), and will then proceed to wrap all my electronic gear in plastic garbage bags.

  • 34. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 22, 2015 at 6:54 am

    By then, it'll be tropical depression Danny.

  • 35. Sagesse  |  August 23, 2015 at 6:38 am

    The headline says thousands, the article and video say hundreds.

    Thousands rally for clerks denying gay marriage licenses [WKYT]

  • 36. guitaristbl  |  August 23, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Does it matter ? They could be the whole kentucky population and they could bring buses from other states (and they may have done so). The law is still the law and a county clerk is still a public official. She can cry and play victim as long as she wants. She will do her job or allow another clerk in her office to do or she will quit. This is getting so tiring really.

  • 37. A_Jayne  |  August 23, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Legally the numbers don't matter, of course. But psychologically they do – on both sides. The difference between hundreds and thousands either supporting or protesting one's personal cause, whichever side that person is on, changes the event from "yeah, well" to an "I told you so!"

    I enjoy pointing out the "yeah, well" right wing protests to my family members who oppose everything I am – making sure they understand that only hundreds showing up means I get to be the one that says, "I told you so!"

  • 38. Tony MinasTirith  |  August 23, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I agree. Numbers have the potential to matter. One woman fighting in court is a last stand and only becomes a foot note in history. Hundreds supporting her at a rally is a ground swell of support that may or may not be a one time thing that does or does not gather national media attention or goes nowhere. Thousands in support of one clerk has the makings of a movement which has the potential to grow and spread from one county to across the state to across neighboring states… less we forget the Anita Bryant, Miami-Dade County debacle in 1977 or the devastating Prop 8 loss in CA by "thousands" of voters. Did those thousands matter in 2008 in California? It would have been better to have those extra "thousands" on the "No on Prop 8" side. They definitely did. This one clerk doesn't have charisma…but if a 21st century Anita Bryant gains foothold, and rally's "thousands"… over and over…gains a movement, gains a voice…. well we don't want to find out what happens. Look what happened at the ballot boxes in 2004 for president, 2008 for prop 8 and in 2012 for the US Senate.

    It's not the courts we need worry about so much at this point in time as the ballot box and the influence "thousands" have on the legislatures. We don't want an overwhelming number of religious conservatives putting a Ted Cruz in the white house… or any republican for that matter. We need "thousands" of voters, not hundreds, to take back the senate and house in 2016. Yes Virginia, Numbers do matter. Our movement started in 1965 with just a few dozen protesters marching in a circle carrying signs demanding gay rights. Numbers do matter, numbers have the potential to grow. This support for this clerk needs to be nipped in the bud.

    The good thing and that we aren't hearing is that over 99% of the clerks must be complying with the law. And some may even be doing so with pleasure and alacrity.

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  August 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

    [Florida] is going to make an update on marriage applications, as well as death certificates, that would be gender neutral, and the updated applications and certificate are expected to be ready by mid-September. The documents will now have an area to fill out called "spouse" rather than "husband" and "wife." … The battle for the same option on birth certificates, however, remains up in the air. …

  • 40. VIRick  |  August 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Florida has no excuse. Like it or not, they've had marriage equality in that state since 6 January 2015, and knew it was coming 3 months prior, ever since Judge Hinkle's 90-day countdown first kicked in.

  • 41. ianbirmingham  |  August 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Letters reveal Alan Turing’s battle with his sexualityPreviously unpublished correspondence shows how wartime codebreaker longed for permanent relationship

  • 42. jpmassar  |  August 23, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    A bill which seeks to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Australia was introduced Monday in the Australian parliament.

    Warren Entsch introduced his cross-party marriage equality bill to the House of Representatives this morning with a plea that same-sex relationships should no longer be officially legislated as being of a lesser worth.

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