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Equality news round-up: News on Kim Davis, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– In the case of the couples suing Kim Davis, the federal judge has denied the couples’ request to reopen briefing on certification of all the couples as a class. He says he’s waiting on the Sixth Circuit to issue a ruling on his injunction, and also that since his injunction now applies to all couples, there’s no need to move to class certification yet.

– Equality Case Files has posted a ton of new documents from the Mississippi marriage case.

– Lambda Legal is suing the State Department on behalf of someone who is intersex and was denied a passport.

– The Washington Blade pointed out that this is the first time in history we are seeing presidential candidates arguing over who is more pro-LGBT.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Jaesun100  |  October 27, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    The scary thing is in the republican side Cruz is polling around third for the nominee choice , Carson has overtaken Trump. If or when Carson or Trump falter that leaves Cruz and we all we know his views. Trump is trying to stay away from the issue and Carson is playing anti gay. The general election could very well turn into that issue. It will be cloaked in Religious Freedom and well here we go again … will come down to voter turn out and Dems better have it and hope lots want to vote for Americas first female president and be a part of History. The republicans however have a different itch and feel like they lost a vote with the SC decision so they are chomping to vote again against GLBT. We can overcome this backlash by high dem voter turnout and unity behind one candidate whom better not have any surprise emails pop up.

  • 2. Raga  |  October 27, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Justice Kennedy suggests that Kim Davis should resign: “Great respect, it seems to me, has to be given to people who resign rather than do something they view as morally wrong, in order to make a point.”

  • 3. VIRick  |  October 27, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Indeed! This is the proper procedure, a procedure which was undertaken by a number of other county clerks from the bible-belt, including Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. She needs to follow suit, but should have already done so months ago.

  • 4. Zack12  |  October 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    This is another reminder of why next year's elections will be so important.
    Samuel Alito has more or less stated he would be perfectly okay with a clerk being able to do what Kim Davis did in the name of religious freedom.
    As conservative as Kennedy is, we shouldn't forget that the two men nominated prior to him were even worse and if a Republican is allowed to pick his replacement, will be the hard right conservative Republicans wanted in the first place.

  • 5. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Most of the GOTP today would consider Robert Bork to be too squishy. Imagine Bork being the left's hope if a GOTPer makes the Presidency.

    And they (the members of the GOTP) remember ronnie Ray-Gun, but forget almost all his policies.

    That is why this and next year's elections are important, including local, state, and national elections.

    And remember, even if the politician you favor is pro- or anti-GLBT, who do they put in actual power? GOTPers tend to put only GOTPers in power, and GOTPers tend to be anti-GLBT, especially those who would be in power.

  • 6. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 27, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    'Hasbro Asks Judge to Dismiss Fox Anchor Harris Faulkner's Suit Over Toy Hamster'
    (… )

  • 7. David_Las_Cruces_NM  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:57 am


  • 8. VIRick  |  October 27, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Italy: Court Ruling Strips Married Same-Sex Couples of Legal Recognition

    On 27 October 2015, an Italian court has ordered cities to stop recognizing the existing overseas marriages of same-sex couples. Over the past year, a number of Mayors and city officials, including the Mayor of Rome, have officially recognized the marriages of gay and lesbian couples overseas, despite threats from the government not to do so. However, they will now be compelled to stop doing so, and to strip existing same-sex spouses of their legal rights, after Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano took the issue to the Council of State, Italy’s highest administrative court.

    Alfano told the Gazzetta del Sud: “Last year my circular banning the transcription of gay marriages contracted abroad drew controversy, sometimes even violent aggression and a hail of appeals. Now the Council of State has borne me out entirely: marriage between two people of the same sex is not contemplated under Italian law, therefore the transcriptions made by local mayors are illegal and monitoring is the competence of the prefect.”

    Italy has poor provisions for LGBT people party due to the strong influence of the Catholic Church, with no country-wide recognition of same-sex couples at present.

    A civil unions bill has recently been presented in the country’s Parliament, but is yet to come to a vote. Same-sex marriage has been emphatically ruled out, however, The new proposed law would offer some, but not all, of the benefits of marriage. Included in the law would be partial pension rights, automatic inheritance and would enable same-sex partners to adopt each other’s children, if the child only has one legal parent.

  • 9. Christian0811  |  October 27, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    How much easier would it have been for the CC to just strike down the ban and let the issue die already? But no, we had to get a freaking lazy ass 'pace v alabama'-like decision with 138/2010 and hope that maybe parliament will give us a diluted slap in the face (eg civil unions).

    I think perhaps 'Oliari' and 'Obergefell' have changed the jurisprudential landscape. Maybe this recent turn of events could be successfully appealed to the CC and perhaps article 29 could be *correctly* interpreted this time. Juuuust maybe. After all… both the CC and Court of Cassation agreed before Oliari that civil unions are required and that was in 2010 and would still have pissed off the Vatican. I'd like to hold out hope that the CC is capable of rendering a good decision.

    Better yet, perhaps the question of marriage could be revisited if the CU bill fails. A recalcitrant parliament which won't even so much as ratify humiliating CUs and new case law could make the pragmatic argument that the only way to ensure equal rights for same sex couples, in practice, would be for the court to invalidate the marriage ban entirely.

    But then there's this from this year :

    It's obvious I think that the court needs a purge, but in lieu of that the Irish route may be required. Unless the CC finally comes to its senses, I'm not sure what can be done ://

    I mean, a constitutional amendment to legalize marriage seems far far away even if most Italians would support it. This is distressing tbh but at the same time that last ruling also upheld the M2F marriage, so that is good… I don't understand the court's reluctance honestly. Is it bigotry, stupidity, cowardice or some combination of the three?

  • 10. Christian0811  |  October 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    In fact, does anyone know when the Italian CC judges are up for for the their terms? If I recall correctly, the prime minister appoints a third, then the Senate appoints a third, and then the judiciary appoints the last third of the judges. If the prime minister, who is seemingly very gay friendly, appoints new judges to the court soon then we could conceivably win the majority there and thus a positive ruling.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  October 27, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Meet Dr. Steven Hotze, president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas and one of the leading anti-HERO haters:

    Charles Kuffner, Off the Kuff: The animus that drives HERO opposition

    The power of the CRT, and similar groups such as Michael Quinn Sullivan's Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, is that they create scorecards of Lege members based upon their support of their extremist agendas, and threaten to withhold financial support or run primary opponents against them if the legislator doesn't conform to their check boxes. Within the state's GOP, their support is strongest in upper middle class suburbs dominated by mildly privileged older white guys convinced that Obama is organizing the huddled masses with battering rams to crash into their gated communities.

    Hotze is an especially poor excuse for a human being.

    In an incendiary, lengthy address, Hotze went on to link America’s war against Nazi Germany to the war on gay rights, urging all gay Houstonians to flee to San Francisco. The sword, he said, was meant to represent God’s word, the strongest weapon against the gay community.

    “The homosexuals are hate-mongers,” Hotze said at the time. “They hate God, they hate God’s word, they hate Christ, they hate anything that’s good and wholesome and right. They want to pervert everything.”

    Despite his homophobia, I'm not the only one that has noticed that he, and the anti-HERO campaign as a whole, has wisely chosen not to vilify the gay community in order to defeat HERO. Make no mistake that Hotze is a complete homophobic demagogue who recently has claimed that equality would mean that "kids will be encouraged to practice sodomy in kindergarten". Instead, he's toning down his criticism of the gay community understanding that most Houston voters are more tolerant than he is and know gay family members or coworkers whom they respect.

    His strategy, rather, is to demonize the transgender community and play upon the public's lack of familiarity with them.

    “Transgender people are at least 20 years behind the larger gay and lesbian community in terms of public understanding and acceptance,” said Michael Silverman, director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. “The vast majority of Americans still report that they do not know anyone who is openly transgender. That lack of knowledge and lack of acceptance creates a gap that our opponents attempt to fill with misleading information designed to scare people.”

  • 12. Fortguy  |  October 27, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Finally, I agree with Kuffner on his conclusion:

    See also this story, which looks at this from the perspective of being transgender. People who oppose HERO have a variety of reasons for doing so. I don’t find any of those reasons meritorious, but some of them are more respectable than others. But whatever one’s reason may be for opposing HERO, this is what the rest of the country will hear and internalize if HERO is defeated. I don’t know about you, but if I opposed HERO for some technical reason that had nothing to do with Steve Hotze’s seething hatred, the fact that I was nonetheless on the same side as Steve Hotze would make me awfully uncomfortable. You may say that it’s not fair for you and your reasonable objections to HERO to be lumped with a raving maniac like Hotze. Well, last I checked life wasn’t fair, and so unless you’re out there publicly denouncing the likes of Hotze and his hate, how is anyone who doesn’t know you to tell the difference? I guarantee you, there are only two possible post-referendum narratives that will appear in the media. One is that Houston beat back an effort to repeal its equal rights ordinance. The other is that anti-gay groups prevailed in their effort to repeal said ordinance, with the likes of Hotze and Jared Woodfill and Dave Wilson out there in the spotlight getting the attention and becoming for at least a little while the public face of our town. If you don’t like that idea, then the one thing you can do about it is not be on their side when you go vote. Because if you are on their side when you vote, your own reasons for doing so won’t matter. No one’s going to hear you when you try to explain.

    Please be sure to follow Kuffner's links as they are interesting. Also, here is some background on the other people he calls out. Jared Woodfill is the leader of the anti-HERO campaign while espousing the campaign's potty panic strategy. He was formerly chairman of the Harris County GOP until he was unseated in the primary last year due to his unwillingness to build support behind all the party's candidates including a pro-choice legislator from the county. Dave Wilson claimed residence in a warehouse in order to win election to the Houston Community College board in an African-American district while misleading voters into thinking he was black while touting the endorsement of a family member who just happened to share the same name as a prominent African-American politician who would never have supported him.

    I apologize for the length that required me to do this in two separate posts, but I thought y'all should know what degree of hate we're up against. Early voting ends Friday. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

  • 13. JayJonson  |  October 28, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I am increasingly disappointed with the campaign on behalf of HERO being waged by Houston Unites. I went to their site where I planned to donate some money that was to be matched by Houston Mayor Parker (who pledged to match donations up to $50,000). While there, I looked at some videos they have produced for the campaign. Not a single video mentions glbt people!

    Some are general (like one made by Julian Castro), others are specific, claiming that the ordinance is necessary to protect people who are discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, veteran status, gender, motherhood, etc. But not a single one actually mentions gay or lesbian or transgender people.

    This is eerily reminiscent of the Prop 8 campaign and even more of the 2012 North Carolina campaign against an amendment that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions. The campaign against the North Carolina amendment also tried to pretend that the issue was discrimination against everyone except gay people. Its message was Amendment 2 "goes too far" because it may penalize straight people as well as gay people.

    Such campaigns are dishonest and inauthentic and will not succeed. People know that the law already protects people from discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity and will not be fooled into thinking they have to vote for HERO to secure those protections.

    I fear a disaster in Houston and I don't want to donate money to a campaign that is ashamed of gay people and contributes to our invisibility. This is so disappointing.

  • 14. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2015 at 11:32 am

    You remind me of the old saying that 'perfect is the enemy of good'.

    Maybe the people behind Houston Unites have taken a poll, and found if they discuss the damage the anti-HERO people will cause to the GLBT community (alone) is minor compared to the entire population, and that is why they are not concentrating on the GLBT community.

    Maybe they have taken a poll, and found that if they speak ONLY of the GLBT community, they have no hope of winning as people will say 'that is their problem, not mine' and either not vote, or vote against HERO. If the vote is 'personalized' to people outside the GLBT community, the vote for HERO might be greatly magnified, and there is a greater possibility of a win.

    The campaign for Prop H8 was mismanaged, IMO. The wording on the ballot was very confusing, and the anti-Prop H8 campaign did little to make it unconfusing. And isn't it the backers of the GOTP who think THIER opinion is the ONLY opinion that counts? That all other opinions are false? (And never mind what the facts are?)

    Are you only for the GLBT community, or are you for everyone?

    How many of the "people know" that anti-discrimination laws, except HERO-type laws, do not protect people who are GLBT? Didn't Bo-ner say that he thought there already were protections on the books for employment, housing, etc.? Until the Americans with Disabilities Act, I was not protected against employment or housing discrimination. Everyone else just 'assumed' that people were. That ASSumption was 'people knowing' discrimination was illegal. Yet as a white male, because I was GLBT, I was NOT protected.

    Yes, the law already protects people from discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity, so they just assumed that the law protected a disabled African-American, an American Indian, an Egyptian, etc. That ASSumption was wrong. The laws protected that African-American, that American Indian, that Egyptian, etc. on the basis of their race and/or ethnicity, but they did NOT protect those people on the basis of their disability. Many times, an education campaign must accompany, or precede, a political campaign. How does this law or proposal affect YOU if you are not in the GLBT community?

    And who is to say if the voters defeat HERO, they will not try to defeat all the other anti-discrimination local, state and federal laws protecting minorities. They already have assaulted the Voting Rights Act, even though the Constitution says that ALL American citizens of voting age are entitled to vote. This is Houston, and Houston is located in Texas, a state that has more than it's share of bigots, bigots who are out to 'get' gays and minorities (Jim from Texas is a prime example).

  • 15. JayJonson  |  October 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    When campaigns have been run keeping gay people invisible, we have lost. The turn around came when in 2012, after the North Carolina defeat, our campaigns put gay people at the center, explaining why marriage equality was important to them. That is how we won in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota, and in the Supreme Court retention election in Iowa. Unfortunately, the Houston campaign simply repeats the old strategy of pretending that the law really benefits other people and that gay people don't exist.

    In case you don't know, there is an American with Disabilities Act, which protects everyone on the basis of disability. HERO certainly adds nothing to the protection we all already enjoy on the basis of disability. Nor does it add anything to the protections that we also all already enjoy on the basis of ethnicity or race or gender. But Houstonians have absolutely no legal protection on the basis of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. If HERO goes down, as I suspect it will, the only losers will be glbt people.

    No, I am not one who believes that the perfect is the enemy of the good. I am one who believes that in 2015 we have had two decades of experience with referenda on gay rights and we should by now know that the strategy being employed by Houston Unites will not work.

    Luckily, we have outraised our opponents. I hope that at least some of this money is being spent on get out the vote efforts in the gay community.

  • 16. Mike_Baltimore  |  October 28, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    "When campaigns have been run keeping gay people invisible, we have lost."

    That is your opinion, not mine, nor Houston Unites. I bet Houston Unites has more information than you.

  • 17. JayJonson  |  October 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    We won precious few referenda on our rights before 2012. The people who have studied Proposition 8 and North Carolina's Amendment 2 advised the campaigns in Maine, Minnesota, Washington, and Maryland to run very different campaigns, using gay couples at the heart of the advertising. Houston Unites, in contrast, has not made a single ad that even mentions gay, lesbian, or transgender people. Our opponents, however, have painted us as bathroom predators, especially demonizing transgender people.

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Per Equality Case Files:

    In "Miller v. Davis," the 6th Circuit Court appeal in the Kim Davis case, one of the motions that was pending there at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals was Davis' request for a stay of the order holding in her contempt of court. The order linked below, just issued by the 6th Circuit Court today, 28 October 2015, denies that request, holding, "The release of Davis from custody largely if not entirely moots her request for an emergency stay of the contempt sanction, and her motion for a stay is therefore DENIED."

    There's still no word on the latest stay motion she filed, the one seeking a stay of the modified preliminary injunction that expanded the injunction to cover all eligible couples. That motion is fully briefed, but there is no decision yet.

    ORDER Denying Davis' Motion for Stay of Contempt Order:

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