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US Supreme Court Says No Gay Marriage in Virginia

August 21st, 2014 No comments
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

The United States Supreme Court granted an emergency request to stay the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision that found Virginia’s marriage ban unconstitutional, yesterday. Marriages for gay and lesbian couples were set to begin at A.M. today. The Supreme Court’s stay prevents marriages from taking place pending further appeal. The Supreme Court has been asked by the Commonwealth of Virginia to consider the Bostic case in its next term to decide the question of marriage equality. The state filed its petition for writ of certiorari, or request for review on Friday, August 8, 2014. In light of the stay, lawyers for the Bostic plaintiffs intend to file a response in support of the Commonwealth’s petition to urge the Supreme Court to review the Bostic case and resolve the incredibly important question it presents.

“Never before have federal courts across this country so swiftly, convincingly, and unanimously come to the same conclusion on an imperative constitutional question as they have when presented with the issue of marriage equality,” said Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP. “The federal court system agrees, the majority of Americans agree, and the President of the United States agrees that it is time this country treats its same-sex couples and their children just the same as all other loving families. We are confident that when the Supreme Court reviews the Bostic case, it too will agree and end the flagrant injustice of segregating Americans based on sexual orientation.” [AFER]

 

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gets Handed Lawsuit Over Denial of Federal Benefits for Gay Couples

August 20th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Lambda Legal and Morrison and Foerster LLP have filed suit against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the American Military Partner Association (“AMPA”) arguing that the denial of benefits to same-sex spouses of veterans living in states that refuse to recognize their marriages is in violation of the US Supreme Court’s decision striking down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.  “Gay and lesbian veterans have served their country and risked the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill their duty to this nation,” said Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal. “Married veterans and their spouses, wherever they live, need critical veterans benefits, earned through years of often perilous service, to take care of their families. No member of our community should be left behind just because their home state continues to discriminate against their marriage.”

Wedding Venues Cannot Discriminate Against Gay Couples in New York

August 15th, 2014 Comments off
Image via FingerLakes

Image via FingerLakes

The New York State Division of Human Rights says that it is illegal for businesses in New York State to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The statement, reaffirming an already existing policy, comes after the case of Melisa and Jennifer McCarthy, whose wedding was rejected by the owners of an Albany area farm and wedding venue when the owners found out that they were a same-sex couple.  “No one should have the happiest time of their life marred by discrimination,” said Jennifer McCarthy. “We hope this decision will protect all New Yorkers from having to go through the hurt that we experienced.”

While the owners contended that they don’t believe in same-sex marriage therefore they shouldn’t have to allow gay weddings at their farm, New York’s Human Rights Law prohibits businesses from providing services and conveniences to the public from discriminating against protect groups. [NYCLU]

This is great news! But let’s make sure we, as a community, are supporting the businesses in New York that are on our side and hit these discriminatory businesses where it hurts the most…their wallets!

Click here for our Gay Weddings and Honeymoons in New York article. 

Federal Appeals Court to Hear Six Cases Challenging Gay Marriage Bans in the Midwest

August 6th, 2014 Comments off
Screen Shot via YouTube

Screen Shot via YouTube

A federal appeals court will hear arguments today in six challenges to laws that ban marriage for same-sex couples or the recognition of marriages of same-sex couples throughout the 6th District. In each case, a lower court in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, or Kentucky ruled in favor of marriage for same-sex couples.  In Obergefell v. Himes, a case that quickly went viral, a couple has asked the stateto recognize the marriage of a Cincinnati man and his late husband. The case was filed on behalf of James Obergefell and John Arthur, who were in a committed relationship for 22 years and wished to marry. When Arthur’s condition deteriorated due to ALS, the two flew to Maryland on a medically equipped plane, where they were married on the tarmac in July 2013. When they returned, they learned that Obergefell would not be listed on Arthur’s death certificate as his surviving spouse when he died because Ohio did not recognize their marriage for any purpose. Shortly after filing, a district court temporarily suspended Ohio’s recognition ban as it applied to this case. Arthur died in October, with his death certificate listing Obergefell as his spouse. The state is appealing that ruling and seeking to amend Arthur’s death certificate to remove all mention of his marriage. “No couple should have to live through the uncertainty that John and I did in the most painful moments of our lives,” said Obergefell. “I will fight to preserve John’s last wish to have our marriage respected. And I fight for all caring and devoted Ohio couples, too.” Also represented in the case are David Michener, who unexpectedly lost his husband William Herbert Ives shortly after their marriage last year. Michener, who has been raising the couple’s three children, is also suing to ensure that Ives’ death certificate is accurate. Robert Grunn, a funeral director whose clients included Obergefell and Arthur, is also a plaintiff.

Other cases include: Ohio case, Henry v. Himes, also dealing with the recognition of out-of-state marriages; Two cases from Tenneesee, Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear, one dealing with marriage and one with recognition; and a right to marry case from Michigan, DeBoer v. Snyder, and a recognition case from Tennessee, Tanco v. Haslam. [ACLU]

Things are Looking Up Down Under as Country Prepares for ‘Conscience Vote’ on Gay Marriage

August 5th, 2014 Comments off
{link url="http://www.facebook.com/alexgreenwich" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"}Image via Australian Marriage Equality{/link}

Alex Greenwich an Openly Gay MP. Image via Facebook.

Political parties in Australia have been altering their platforms to include their support of same-sex marriage, since a majority of the country now supports marriage equality—in 2011, the Labor Party changed their official platform to advocate for same-sex marriage. And now, Australia’s Liberal Party, who has been opposed to same-sex marriage, is now willing to allow for legislatures to hold a conscience vote on the issue. Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm said that he will introduce a draft bill either this month of next, and if the MPs vote, it will be the first time a vote has been taken in the country concerning same-sex marriage.

Broward County, Florida Judge Says Gay Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional

August 4th, 2014 Comments off

Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen struck down Florida’s marriage ban, affirming that the denial of marriage equality to same-sex couples in Florida is unconstitutional.  The judge’s ruling applies to recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, as well as overturning Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage in Broward County only. This is the third Republican-appointed judge in Florida to issue a ruling in favor of marriage equality. “Every win in court brings us closer than we’ve ever been to the freedom to marry in Florida,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.  “We look forward to the day when all loving, committed couples and their families enjoy the same protections, opportunities and responsibilities of marriage under the law.  Every passing day inflicts real hardships on families who are denied the legal protection and dignity that marriage equality provides.”

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…

Read more…

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

July 30th, 2014 Comments off
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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]