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Watch: Ohio Pulls at Heartstrings with Gay Marriage Featuring Couple in 50-Year Relationship

July 31st, 2014 Comments off
Screen Shot via YouTube.

Screen Shot via YouTube.

An ad supporting same-sex marriage will begin airing in Ohio—the first time a marriage-equality ad will be shown since November 2004 when Ohio’s took up a vote on gay marriage. While there isn’t expected to be a vote in November’s elections this year, Why Marriage Matters Ohio says the ad’s purpose is to educate. The 30-second spot introduces Ohionians to Henry Hawley and George Vassos of Chagrin Falls near Cleveland. “Attitudes in Ohio and across the country are changing fast as communities are coming together to have very serious conversations about the meaning of family, fairness and the future,” Michael Premo, campaign manager for Why Marriage Matters Ohio, said in a statement. “Our hope is that sharing Henry and George’s story of love and commitment will accelerate those conversations and further increase support for marriage equality in Ohio.”

Watch it after the jump…

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Countdown Begins for Gay Marriage Vote in Ireland, Huge Rally Planned

July 30th, 2014 Comments off
Image via

Noise March for Marriage Equality. Image via

While there has been no official date set for a vote for the same-sex marriage referendum, only mumblings that it will be held during spring 2015, the Irish people are making sure their government officials hear them. With well over half the country now supporting marriage equality (with 67% supporting a referendum allowing civil marriage), the LGBT Noise March for Marriage 2014 is hoping to break records when they take to the streets this August 24th at 3 P.M. in front of City Hall in Dublin. With the LGBTIQQT population in attendance as well as family and friends, the rally will finish outside the Department of Justice. Planners hope that officials will hear a united voice from the people demanding equal rights. Click here for more info. 

Be sure to check out our Dublin coverage in our September issue of Passport magazine.

 

 

US Court Affirms Strike Down of Gay Marriage Ban in Virginia

July 28th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today affirmed a district court ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The decision will not take effect immediately, but will go into effect in 21 days, unless the defendants file a motion to stay the ruling. The ruling will also be stayed if the defendants ask the full court of appeals to review the case. The case, Bostic v. Schaefer, included a certified class made up of approximately 14,000 same-sex couples in the commonwealth.

In his opinion, Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote: “Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.”

“The historic Supreme Court case that allowed for people of different races to marry, so providentially named Loving v. Virginia, started here,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, who argued the case for the class before the federal appeals court. “In the 47 years since, committed same-sex couples in the commonwealth have been patiently waiting for the freedom to marry the person they love. Today’s decision sends a message that everyone deserves the dignity and protection that only comes with marriage.”

Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban (Again) in Florida

July 26th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Today, a state trial court in Miami struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, ordering Miami-Dade County to allow same-sex couples to marry. The court stayed the order pending appeal.  The couples argued that Florida’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2013 that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Every court to consider these federal constitutional claims since last summer’s Supreme Court decision has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, including federal and state courts in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

This decision comes two weeks after Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis Garcia issued a similar decision striking down  Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples and ordering Monroe County to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Monroe County decision was appealed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, which automatically stayed the decision while the appeal is pending. [NCLR]

Judge Rules Colorado’s Gay Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional

July 24th, 2014 Comments off
Image via AFER.

Image via AFER.

US District Judge Raymond P. Moore ruled against Colorado’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, yesterday.  In Burns v. Hickenlooper, attorneys with Kilmer, Lane and Newman, LLP sued the state on behalf of six same-sex couples who argue that Colorado’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. Judge Moore stayed his ruling until August 25 to allow the state time to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which has already struck down bans on marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma. “Today’s ruling from Judge Moore provides even further confirmation that Colorado’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.  “Through civil unions, Colorado has already recognized the need for same-sex couples to have equal access to the benefits and obligations of marriage.  Now its time for the state to stop its appeal and allow these families the dignity that comes with full marriage equality.”

 

Susan Sarandon Lends Her Voice to HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality

July 22nd, 2014 Comments off
Screen Shot via YouTube.

Screen Shot via YouTube.

Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a video ad featuring actress Susan Sarandon for HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign.  In the video, the Oscar winner states, “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing, you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.”  “Like most Americans, Susan Sarandon knows that all families deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and equality under the law,” said HRC’s Charles Joughin. “We are incredibly grateful to Susan for speaking out in favor of marriage equality, and for lending her powerful voice to HRC’s fight for fairness nationwide.”

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Victory in Oklahoma as Judge Rules State Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional

July 18th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Afer.

Image via Afer.

A federal appeals court has ruled Oklahoma’s ban on gay and lesbian marriage is unconstitutional, and it must allow gay couples to marry—this decision comes just a day after a similar ruling was issued in Florida. The 2-1 ruling, which actually took place in Denver, is expected to be appealed by Utah’s attorney general, which means gay marriages cannot yet be issued there. According to the AP: “The 2-1 ruling comes after the same panel ruled June 25 that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution. It was the first time an appellate court determined last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act means states cannot deny gays the ability to wed.”

 

Republican-Appointed Judge Rules Florida’s Ban on Gay Marriage is Unconstitutional

July 17th, 2014 Comments off
Imagever Afer

Imagever Afer

A state judge struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for committed same-sex couples in what is now the 25th consecutive ruling by a federal or state court in favor of marriage equality this year. Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, surprisingly, was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush and reelected in 2002 and 2008. The case, Huntsman v. Heavilin, was filed in Key West and as of now the ruling only applies to Monroe County.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: “Like an unprecedented wave of state and federal courts across the country this past year, Judge Garcia did the right thing in affirming that committed same-sex couples share in the precious constitutional freedom to marry the person we love. Florida’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect – just what the freedom to marry is all about. We can now add Florida’s voice to the urgent need for the Supreme Court to take a freedom to marry case and bring the entire country to national resolution, ending marriage discrimination across America.” [F2M]

First Sitting Mayor in Mississippi History Supports Gay and Lesbian Marriage

July 17th, 2014 Comments off
David Garcia Image via Hancock Chamber.

David Garcia Image via Hancock Chamber.

For the first time in the state’s history, a mayor has come out to support marriage equality. Mayor David Garcia of Waveland announced his support for gay marriage when he added his name to Freedom to Marry’s list of US mayors who support equal rights. “We know many people in loving and committed same-sex relationships who are active participants in improving our communities, and we’ve seen how important marriage has been for them and their families,” Garcia said in a statement. “Because I believe in fairness for all American families, I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples willing to take on that commitment.” [ClaironLedger]

 

Croatian Lawmakers Vote Yes on Same-Sex Unions

July 15th, 2014 Comments off

 

Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Lawmakers today in Croatia have approved gay couples to register as life partners, which will grant same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples. The law is not without its faults, as it doesn’t use the word marriage and won’t allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Despite this, gay rights activists have praised the law, especially since it was passed in a conservative Roman Catholic nation. “Croatia made a historic step forward to stand along progressive countries which have already resolved the issue,” Iva Tomecic, editor-in-chief of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) news portal CroL, told AFP. “From now on same sex couples and families can finally legally regulate their unions… knowing that the country where they live, work and pay taxes is treating them as equal citizens,” she said.