Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

News round-up and open thread: SCOTUS edition

Community/Meta Discrimination

– In two cases involving LGBT rights, the Supreme Court has taken no action in one but denied review in another. The Court denied review in Turner v. Pidgeon, in which the Texas Supreme Court said the US Supreme Court hasn’t necessarily said that same-sex couples should get the same benefits as opposite-sex couples. As the link to Equality Case Files notes, it’s possible they simply denied review because the case was remanded back to the lower courts so that it could reach the other courts again eventually. In the Arlene’s Flowers case, similar to Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court took no action.

– The Supreme Court will hear argument tomorrow in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission tomorrow Equality Case Files has all the documents from the case here. I won’t be able to attend tomorrow’s argument, and I’ll be at an appointment tomorrow, but I’ll post a transcript as soon as it’s available, post reactions from others, and do my own analysis as soon as I can read the transcript.

This is an open thread.

As usual, thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. GregInTN  |  December 4, 2017 at 9:54 am

    News from Tennessee

    A hearing is scheduled on December 13th in state court in Bradley County, TN in a case filed in February, 2016 by a local pastor and a County Commissioner (represented by the Family Action Council of TN). The suit is trying to make the case that since SCOTUS declared TN's marriage laws unconstitutional in Obergefell, that ALL marriages performed in TN since Obergefell are invalid as TN has not passed a new marriage law in the mean time. The suit claims that the Obergefell ruling leaves many questions unanswered, such as:

    Would a person who officiates a wedding be subject to criminal sanctions since the licenses are not valid?
    Would marriages performed subsequent to Obergefell be considered common law marriages?

    and many more, equally important (er, ridiculous), questions.

    Here's a link to a story that was published locally when the suit was originally filed:

    Since I happen to live in the county where the hearing will be held, I'm going to try to attend. I don't think they'll let me bring popcorn into the courtroom.

  • 2. VIRick  |  December 4, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    "I don't think they'll let me bring popcorn into the courtroom."

    If I were you, I would still try.

    Since local nut-job pastors are a dime-a-dozen, that aspect of the case does not surprise me. But the fact that a County Commissioner is party to the same absurd suit, does.

  • 3. davepCA  |  December 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Ha! That's hilarious! Looking over their 'arguments', I have to wonder – did these nitwits not bother to actually READ the Obergefell ruling? Or were they incapable of comprehending it? Too many big words maybe?

    I hope you can attend this, Greg. I would love to hear your observations afterward.

  • 4. FredDorner  |  December 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    The logic they're using would imply that many of the marriages granted since June 1967 in Tennessee are invalid. I'm not sure that Tennessee ever repealed its anti-miscegenation law.

    This logic also reminds me of the Tennessee county judge who refused to grant an opposite-sex couple a divorce because…..Teh Gayz.

    “This leaves a mere trial level Tennessee state court judge in a bit of a quandary. With the U.S. Supreme Court having defined what must be recognized as a marriage, it would appear that Tennessee’s judiciary must now await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court as to what is not a marriage, or better stated, when a marriage is no longer a marriage.”

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  December 4, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Calls for SSM legalization are growing in Japan

  • 6. Mechatron12  |  December 5, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Well, it's official – gays will be allowed to marry in Austria from 2019.

  • 7. guitaristbl  |  December 5, 2017 at 4:27 am

    The day starts off with great signs 🙂 And they are much needed today. Congratulations Austria !

  • 8. VIRick  |  December 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Austria: Constitutional Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

    The Constitutional Court in Austria has ruled that all existing Austrian marriage laws are discriminatory. Thus, from the start of 2019, i.e., from 1 January 2019, same-sex marriage will be legal, and civil partnerships to be made available to straight couples.

    In a ruling dated 4 December 2017, but published on Tuesday, 5 December 2017, it said that restrictions on same-sex marriage will be lifted at the end of 2018 unless the government does so itself earlier. The Constitutional Court further said that civil partnerships will remain an option after the law is changed, but that such partnerships will then be open to hetero couples.

    In a statement, Austria's Constitutional Court said "the distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples," adding that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that "people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation."

    Here's a more-detailed version explaining the ruling in Italian:

    And here's a very detailed version in Spanish:

    Not to be remiss, here's a short version in Catalan:
    Avui la Cort Constitucional d'Àustria ha fallat en contra de les discriminacions en funció de l'orientació sexual, fet que autoritza el matrimonio igualitario abans de 2019.

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  December 5, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Chairman of the Policy & Performance commitee of the island of Sark (part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey) Charles Maitland has confirmed via e-mail but without setting a timetable that the tiny island has plans to legalize marriage equality soon :

  • 10. scream4ever  |  December 5, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Great, and Jersey's final vote on their bill is scheduled for January 30, 2018.

  • 11. Randolph_Finder  |  December 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Which will leave Northern Ireland even more alone…

    Note, just because Sark legalizes it doesn't mean that we'll end up with any performed, there are only 600 people on the island. And Alderney still needs royal assent…

  • 12. scream4ever  |  December 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Northern Ireland will likely finally have it with the coalition agreement in terms of forming their new Parliament.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!