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Equality news round-up: News on HERO, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

nj– Equality Case Files notes that another challenge to New Jersey’s ban on so-called LGBT “conversion therapy” was conferenced last Friday at the Supreme Court. It takes four votes to grant review.

– Equality Case Files also posted the district court transcript in the case of the kid who was denied the right to use the correct restroom by his school. The case is currently on appeal in the Fourth Circuit.

– The Washington Post has written about the fight to preserve the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.


  • 1. guitaristbl  |  November 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Greg Abbott endorsed the NO on Hero on twitter telling people to not endorse "Hillary Clinton values" and of course promoting the bathroom scare tactics.

    Could this be a very good thing for the YES camp given Houston is supposed to be a liberal city ?

  • 2. flyerguy1977  |  November 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Some are predicting that it will be defeated

  • 3. guitaristbl  |  November 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Yes after they saw the turnout in early voting..Only the age factor to take under consideration it looks bad indeed – half of the 100k+ early voters were older than 65 – A little more than a thousand were 18-24.
    But younger voters usually turn out at larger numbers on electiom day so nothing is done yet imo – we can do this.

  • 4. jpmassar  |  November 2, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    LONDON — Northern Ireland's assembly voted in favour of same-sex marriage, by a narrow majority, for the first time Monday. However, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have vetoed any change in the law.

    It's the fifth time the issue has been considered.

    53 members of the assembly backed a motion brought about by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and Sinn Féin, the BBC reports, with 52 voting against it.

    The motion fell after the DUP, the largest party in the devolved parliament, used a "petition of concern" arguing that same-sex marriage didn't have sufficient cross-community support.

    Parties from either the unionist or nationalist community can trigger a veto mechanism if they think there is not enough backing from Catholics or Protestants for a piece of legislation.

    A poll in the summer found that 68% of people in Northern Ireland are in favour of same-sex marriage.

    Amnesty International welcomed Monday's vote, saying it was a "milestone" on the journey towards marriage equality.

    Previous votes on the issue have seen the motion rejected. The last vote, in April, saw 47 in favour and 49 against.

    One member abstained from Monday's vote. Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said that the vote had been "rendered utterly meaningless by the DUP's pre-cooked petition of concern."

    Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that hasn't passed a law allowing same-sex marriage.

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  • 5. Christian0811  |  November 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Isn't there a recognition suit at common law on going?

  • 6. VIRick  |  November 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Yes, the case challenging Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage (recognition issue) was filed in the High Court in mid-August, and is scheduled to be heard by that court on 3 December 2015.

    The Northern Ireland couple who filed suit were married in England in 2014, but under Northern Irish law, are treated as civil partners instead. Thus, as a result, they are contending that by downgrading and treating their religious marriage as a civil union, Northern Ireland is infringing on the couple's religious liberty.

    However, in addition, another Belfast court will be hearing an additional marriage challenge later in November. Unfortunately, I have no further information regarding this second case, as I've just encountered this extra tidbit myself for the first time, have thus just amended my reply to duly note the second case, and can only state:

    Read more here:

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    SCOTUS Rejects Appeal By Anti-Gay Nutjob Andrew Shirvell, $3.5 Million Judgment Stands

    The AP reports:

    The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former lawyer for the state of Michigan who lost a defamation lawsuit filed by a gay student at the University of Michigan. The justices on Monday, 2 November 2015, let stand a lower court ruling that upheld a $3.5 million jury award to Chris Armstrong, a former student government president at UM. Andrew Shirvell was fired as assistant attorney-general in 2010 for waging an anti-gay campaign against Armstrong, who accused him of stalking and defaming him on an anti-gay blog and elsewhere. A federal appeals court rejected Shirvell’s request for a new trial, but reduced the jury’s award by $1 million, making it $3.5 million.

  • 8. FredDorner  |  November 2, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    That one is very satisfying. Shirvell is a nasty piece of work.

  • 9. VIRick  |  November 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Kentucky: GOP Exploits Kim Davis & Marriage Backlash To Spur Evangelicals In Gubernatorial Race

    The "Washington Post" reports:

    Trailing narrowly in the polls ahead of tomorrow’s Kentucky gubernatorial election, Republicans are trying to motivate evangelicals by invoking the case of county clerk Kim Davis and the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing same-sex marriage. Republican Matt Bevin planned to emphasize economic issues in his campaign (or so he claims), but he discovered that voters preferred to talk about social issues, including gay marriage and defunding Planned Parenthood (not surprisingly, given his own strong Tea Party backing).

    “I hear more about those now as I’m out on the campaign trail than I do about anything else,” he said. “This is what moves people.” As Bevin traversed the Bluegrass State the past few days, his body man handed out postcards that described him as “the only candidate for governor that has stood up for traditional marriage and religious liberty.” In his stump speech, Bevin asserts that only 25 percent of born-again Christians vote compared to 75 percent of “agnostics and atheists.”

    Kentucky Attorney-General Jack Conway, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, refused to defend his state against a lawsuit (on appeal) seeking to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage. Outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear then (foolishly) hired outside counsel (for the appeal, and still lost).

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Gays Who Adopted Partners Need Annulments, Senator Says

    Bob Casey, Pennsylvania's Democratic senior senator, wants to right a wrong that's affecting numerous same-sex couples — the inability to obtain annulments for couples in which one partner adopted the other before the days of marriage equality.

    This was a common practice in the mid-20th century, as adoption offered legal protections for same-sex partners when it came to matters like hospital visiting privileges and inheritance laws. But now with marriage equality, some couples in this situation are finding it difficult to annul their adoptions so they can legally marry.

    In a letter to Attorney-General Loretta Lynch, Casey writes of a couple in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County who were denied their adoption annulment request in July. The judge stated that adoption annulments can only be granted in cases of fraud, and reversing them in other instances would place all adoptions in jeopardy. Because of the ruling, the couple cannot marry, since they would be guilty of incest and could face 10 years in prison. The situation is not exclusive to the Allegheny County couple.

    Casey wants Lynch to issue guidance to courts across the country on the matter so that same-sex couples in this situation can easily annul their adoption and enter into a legal marriage.

  • 11. VIRick  |  November 2, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Ohio to Pay $1.5 Million in Attorneys’ Fees for Same-Sex Marriage Cases

    Cincinnati — The state has agreed to pay $1.5 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses to the law firm that handled the two challenges to Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban. Cincinnati federal judge Timothy Black approved an agreement Monday, 2 November 2015, between the Ohio Department of Health and the Cincinnati law firm of Gerhardstein and Branch Co.

    In one case, the firm sued to force Ohio to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples married in other states, and in the other case, to force the Ohio Department of Health to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates. Black previously ruled in favor of gay couples in both cases, the second-mentioned being the forever-famous, "Obergefell v. Hodges.".

    On Monday, 2 November 2015, Judge Black also issued his final order based on last summer’s 5-4 US Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

    As noted from my archives, the original requested amount was for $1.1 million for attorneys' fees and expenses.

    However, in a separate filing made on 11 September 2015, they also argued for a court-ordered 50 percent enhancement of their $1.1 million request on the grounds that such an enhancement is permissible because their work resulted in a landmark court decision and because the attorneys took on a difficult and unpopular civil rights case at a very early date.

    Obviously, Judge Black not only awarded them the full requested amount, but also $400,000 of the $550,000 enhancement.

  • 12. JayJonson  |  November 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    The award was actually $1.3 million, rather than $1.5 million, but a hefty amount in any case. I hope someone will explain to the bigots who agitated for their Republican governor and attorney general to appeal the original decision(s) by Judge Black that they are to blame for the increase in their taxes.

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