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  • 1. JayJonson  |  September 17, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Texas Attorney General Paxton loses again. His attempt to intervene in a probate court to say that a commonlaw marriage between two lesbians was invalid has been rejected by the judge, who has also recognized the marriage.

  • 2. VIRick  |  September 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Texas: Judge Recognizes Same-Sex Common Law Marriage

    Austin TX – For the first time in the Lone Star State, and over the objections of Attorney-General Ken Paxton, a Texas woman, in "In Re Powell," has won the right to have her common-law same-sex marriage recognized after the death of her long-time partner. "It's one more indication that gay people who have married have the same rights as opposite sex people who have married," said Barbara Nunnely, a Fort Worth family law attorney who has represented a number of same-sex couples.

    Sonemaly Phrasavath and Stella Powell met in 2004 and married in Texas in 2008, before same-sex marriages were legally-recognized there. Powell died in June 2014 from colon cancer, sparking a long legal battle with the Powell family over her estate and whether Phrasavath would be recognized as her spouse.

    The US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide on 26 June 2015, overriding the remaining same-sex marriage bans still in place in Texas and a dozen other states. Based on the Court's historic ruling, on 10 September 2015, Phrasavath reached a settlement with Powell's family that included a recognition of the women's common-law marriage. Paxton objected to the settlement, but on Tuesday, 15 September 2015, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman approved the settlement and REMOVED THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AS A PARTY TO THE CASE.

    Despite this obvious slap-down, the attorney-general's office is still mulling its options for appealing the ruling, said Attorney-General spokeswoman Cynthia Meyer. "It is important that the state's interests in constitutional issues be represented," Meyer said in a statement. "This ruling could create confusion by potentially leading to the reopening of past probate cases long finalized, in the process creating new conflicts between families and surviving domestic partners."

    Brian Thompson, Phrasavath's attorney, said his client was unsurprised, but still offended, by the attorney-general's continuing, obstinate involvement.

  • 3. JayJonson  |  September 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Same-sex couples may soon be allowed to wed in the Church of Wales. Bishops vote narrowly to permit same-sex weddings in church, but more church legislation must be passed. Read more:

  • 4. David Cary Hart  |  September 17, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    New activity in Pickup v. Brown. LC just keeps papering the legal system to death:

  • 5. VIRick  |  September 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Per The Slowly Boiled Frog (and David Cary Hart):

    This case, "Pickup v. Brown," is about California's conversion therapy ban on minors. Here is the track record and summarized time-line. Just follow the droppings, as Liberty Counsel continues to beat this issue to death with their filings, and motions, and appeals.

    •October 4, 2012: The Christians seek an injunction invalidating the law.
    •December 4, 2012: The Christians lose.
    •December 10, 2012: The Christians appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
    •August 29, 2013: The Christians lose quest for injunction.
    •August ??, 2014: The Christians lose the appeal in full.
    •November 20, 2014: The state, joined by Equality California, moves to have all of the remaining claims dismissed in the district court.
    •March 6, 2015: The exchange of briefs is completed.
    •March 13, 2015: The court holds a hearing on the matter.
    •September 16, 2015: The motion to dismiss is granted, giving them 21 days to refile on two of the three outstanding issues. I'm sure that they will.

    Coming next: In the filing, David Pickup reveals that he intends to disobey the law. He'll be the next self-manufactured victim on the Christian milk carton with requests for donations. It's a way of challenging the law all over again. More briefs, more hearings, more appeals, more motions, more batshit.

  • 6. sfbob  |  September 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    The things Pickup and his colleagues and counsel claim the law does are not borne out by the wording of the statute; the statute is one of general applicability rather than a ban on a specific religious view or practice and is therefore subject to only rational basis review, upon which the suit would fail even if the plaintiffs actually acted on their intention to violate the law and were somehow cited for it. In fact the law includes no criminal sanctions but merely administrative ones–a black mark on the practitioner's record, so to speak.

    It would appear that the reason Pickup states he intends to disobey the law is that, according the ruling, he has no justiciable claim unless he has either actually violated the law and been cited for it or has a concrete plan (as opposed to a generalized intention; see page 13) to do so. So sure, Pickup can violate the law and file another suit but the ruling rather broadly implies he'd still lose for a very simple reason: none of the claims alleged in the initial complaint have any merit. And the plaintiffs apparently have only 21 days to take the actions necessary to allow them to file an amended complaint.

  • 7. VIRick  |  September 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Kentucky: 6th Circuit Court Denies Motion for Stay

    On 17 September 2015, in "Miller v. Davis," in Davis' 6th Circuit Court appeal of the 3 September 2015 preliminary injunction against her, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Davis's motion for a stay of the expanded injunction because she didn't ask the district court first.

    This just means she needs to go back to the district court and ask there, then after being denied by Judge Bunning, return back to the 6th Circuit Court to ask again so that they can deny her a second time.

    The link to: Doc 50 – Order denying stay of the 3 September preliminary injunction pending appeal for failure to comply with Rule 8(a)(1), is here:

  • 8. 1grod  |  September 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Probate judge for Washington Co [ pop 17,581] asks AL's Supreme Court to rule in favour of Religious Freedom in government workplaces.
    In early August, that same Probate Judge – N. Williams – petitioned the AL Supremes to ignore the US Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell and make their present injunction against issuing non-straight marriage licenses permanent.
    Where is the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision in Strawser vc Strange[class action]?
    Coming from the county with the 17th / 67 smallest population, guess Nick is striving to be noticed outside of Chaton. [pop 1193]

  • 9. VIRick  |  September 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Nebraska: En Banc Rehearing in Marriage Case Denied

    On 17 September 2015, in"Waters v. Ricketts," the 8th Circuit Court appeal of the Nebraska marriage case, Nebraska's petition for an en banc rehearing, that is, having the appeal reconsidered by the full court rather than just the 3-judge panel, was denied.

    The "Order: Motion for Rehearing en Banc or by Panel Denied" is here:

    This case should now be remanded back to the district court for final judgment.

  • 10. Mike_Baltimore  |  September 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    So unless Nebraska appeals to SCOTUS, the case is now effectively over. And we know what SCOTUS will say if Nebraska is foolish enough to appeal – 'We don't want to hear the appeal as we've already ruled on a similar case. Appeal is denied.'

  • 11. SethInMaryland  |  September 17, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Jersey will vote on their marriage law on Tuesday. This will be the first of those islands near the UK

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  September 17, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Lawmakers advance bill to repeal Florida's ban on shacking up
    Wednesday, September 16, 2015 1:42pm

    A bill to ditch Florida's 147-year ban on unmarried men and women living together is getting renewed life in the state House this fall, but it's far too soon to know how much traction the proposal might get during session. In the spring, bills to repeal the cohabitation ban died in both chambers.

    Florida is one of only three states that still criminalize cohabitation. It's a second-degree misdemeanor but rarely enforced.

    The newest proposal to repeal the law (HB 4003) cleared the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee this morning by a 10-3 vote, drawing some brief, lively discussion. "The government should not be peeking under the sheets, frankly, of its citizens," said Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, who is co-sponsoring this year's bill with Weston Democratic Rep. Richard Stark. Rehwinkel Vasilinda said keeping the 1868 law on the books could create the potential for "discriminatory behavior," but opponents of the bill cite religious and moral reasons for why it should stand.

    Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, asked Rehwinkel Vasilinda about her own marital status – she's married – to help articulate his disdain for what he called a "bad bill." "Are you aware, Representative, this flies in the face of defense of your own marriage?" Van Zant asked, adding: "Who are we to say that we do not at least fear God?" Republican Reps. Dennis Baxley, of Ocala, and Ross Spano, of Dover, joined Van Zant in opposing the bill.

    Rehwinkel Vasilinda pointed out that the existing law doesn't ban men living together or women living together, which could raise legal challenges of discrimination, and the law itself is unrealistic to enforce, she said. "I think it would be distasteful to find out or prove whether someone is living in a romantic relationship and not platonically," she said. "Get this off the books and clean it up … and our clergy and religion and our public morals can still stand strong."

    The bill now goes to the full House Judiciary Committee for consideration, but as of yet, no Senate companion has been filed. Without one, the legislation is dead on arrival.

  • 13. VIRick  |  September 17, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    This is the same antiquated Florida statute, still on the books, which everyone always tossed at the hypocritical AG Bondi, given that her current live-in arrangement with partner #4, the "Cayman Islands Commitment Ceremony" dude, didn't pass legal muster within the state of Florida, while at the very same time, of course, she's out there, mindlessly "Defending Marriage" with all of her endless appeals of the multiple judgments striking down Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, some of which, at the federal level, are still under appeal, as is the birth certificate issue for same-sex couples.

  • 14. SethInMaryland  |  September 17, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Today, HRC hailed the passage of a new constitution in Nepal that provides explicit protections for LGBT people from discrimination, violence, and abuse–a historic first for a nation in Asia. Nepal joins only a handful of countries, including South Africa and Ecuador, that have enshrined equal rights protections for LGBT people in their national constitutions.

    Nepal’s Parliament endorsed the new constitution on September 16, making it the first constitution the republic has passed since abolishing its 239-year-old monarchy in 2008. President Ram Baran Yadav is slated to promulgate the constitution at a ceremony in Parliament on September 20.

    “This is a momentous step forward for LGBT equality in Nepal. The nation’s leadership has affirmed that its LGBT citizens deserve the constitutional right to live their lives free from discrimination and fear,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. “We congratulate LGBT Nepalis and their allies for this historic victory, and hope to see other nations across Asia and the globe take similar steps to ensure full legal equality for their LGBT citizens.”

    In anticipation of the historic occasion, HRC released a one-pager detailing Nepal’s new constitution and what it means for the LGBT community in Nepal. Though there is still work left to be done, this new constitution can help foster momentum for the robust LGBT movement in Nepal, and could lead to further progress elsewhere in Asia.


    "This new Constitution makes clear that we can be proud of our LGBT identities, and that we can be proud citizens of Nepal," said Sunil Babu Pant, founder of Blue Diamond Society and Asia's first openly gay federal member of parliament. "This victory is just the beginning of our long road towards full equality. We are ready to move beyond the discrimination, violence and exclusion of the past, and continue with even greater integrity, responsibility and dedication to contribute to the nation-building process. We will be working together with Nepali and international allies to build our nation, a 'new, inclusive and prosperous Nepal'."

    The new constitution explicitly states that “sexual and gender minorities” (SGM) cannot be discriminated against by the state or the judiciary. There is no direct mention of same-sex marriage in the new constitution, but all issues related to marriage in general will be handled in the civil code, which will be revised in the future. Notably, in South Africa, constitutional protections were used as a necessary pathway towards full marriage equality, which could happen in Nepal. With equality enshrined in the constitution, the document provides important legal avenues for LGBT activists fighting to pursue full equality without fear of repercussion

  • 15. SethInMaryland  |  September 17, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    So basically Nepal just banned discrimination of any kind against LGBT people. So I think this would apply to marriage as well , but I think advocates will likely wait a little while as the Parliament is still passing laws into the new constitution. The parliament may even take up marriage soon might need not any court involvement

  • 16. Shmoozo  |  September 17, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I did not see this posted here, yet, so I'm tossing it out for inspection.

    >> Tennessee lawmakers promised some sort of legislative response after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal for every state in the country.

    On Thursday two state Republican lawmakers unveiled their answer: a bill that they believe voids the Supreme Court decision and continues to define marriage under Tennessee law as a union between a man and a woman.

    "Natural marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman as recognized by the people of Tennessee remains the law in Tennessee, regardless of any court decision to the contrary," the bill states.

    "Any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including (a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision), is unauthoritative, void, and of no effect." <<


    Even if the bill passes (which I hope is unlikely) it'll be challenged and ruled unconstitutional, I think.

  • 17. davepCA  |  September 17, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Kinda pointless of them, since the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell didn't "strike down natural marriage". What a bunch of idiotic rhetoric.

  • 18. Shmoozo  |  September 18, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Yes, well … What other sort of rhetoric would one expect from idiots?


  • 19. StraightDave  |  September 18, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Wow, that just starts to make KY and AL look a little bit sane. This is so batshit that it cannot be anything more than a couple of losers trying to get reelected. In some districts, idiocy pays. But could they have at least found a competent author that pretended to present something better than F* the Supreme Court?

  • 20. jcmeiners  |  September 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

    You mean a declaration of secession?

  • 21. waxr  |  September 18, 2015 at 8:17 am

    It's a day late, but this would still be a good time for lawmakers to read the Constitution.

  • 22. GregInTN  |  September 18, 2015 at 11:06 am

    And in the ultimate irony, this bill was announced at a rally in Nashville on Thursday where the speakers included Joe Davis, Rafael Cruz (father of Senator Ted Cruz), & Bishop E.W. Jackson. They said they picked the date of the rally specifically to coincide with Constitution Day.

  • 23. StraightDave  |  September 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Isn't that like having a flag-burning party on the 4th of July?
    Or maybe they're just trying to celebrate their freedom of stupidity speech.

    Like Rachael Maddow said the other night: "Thank you, News Gods, for making my job so easy by bringing us all these wonderful events so we don't have to go hunting for new material. It just falls into our laps every day."

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