October 12, 2014

A Federal Judge Working On Sunday - Alaska

Federal District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess issued his ruling today (Sunday, October 12) that Alaska's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. No stay. It's immediate. Here's the ruling itself.

Any state interests identified by Defendants are insufficient for Alaska's same-sex marriage laws to pass constitutional muster under due process or equal protection. Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment at Docket 20 is GRANTED.

With this ruling, the Court hereby DECLARES that Alaska's same-sex marriage laws are unconstitutional for violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Court IMMEDIATELY ENJOINS the state of Alaska, including state officers, personnel, agents, government divisions, and other political entities, from enforcing Alaska Constitution Article 1, Section 25 and Alaska Statute Sections 25.05.011 and 25.05.013 to the extent that the laws prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marriage and refusing to recognize lawful same-sex marriages entered in other states.

permalink | October 12, 2014 at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Texas Reasoning

As part of the last-ditch attempt to prevent marriage equality, the State of Texas filed a brief on Friday that included this explanation as part of their "rational basis."

Texas's marriage laws are rationally related to the State's interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas's marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy. At the very least, one could rationally believe that opposite-sex marriages will do more to advance the State's interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births than same-sex marriage will.

IOW, if same-sex couples would only be as irresponsible as opposite-sex couples in churning out unwanted, out-of-wedlock babies, then Texas would adopt marriage equality.

permalink | October 12, 2014 at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2014

It's Friday night. Do you know what your marriage rights are?

Last night at 11 PM SCOTUSblog counted a total of 31 states plus DC as jurisdictions with marriage equality. I'll accept their count, but it's almost 24 hours old. Use pencil, not pen.

Drawing from Equality On Trial and Box Turtle Bulletin.

Idaho decided not to appeal and did not ask for an extension of the brief stay. IOW, Idaho has marriage equality now.

West Virginia's Attorney General has decided to respect the U.S. Supreme Court non-decision. But the Attorney General has no authority over marriage forms and procedures, so real marriage equality awaits action by the State Registrar and Secretary of State. Nevertheless, couples are marrying in Cabell County.

South Carolina's Supreme Court has issued an order that is effectively a stay in that state. So no marriage equality yet.

Arkansas' Supreme Court has refused to halt a lawsuit challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage. A circuit judge declared Arkansas' ban unconstitutional and 500 couples got marriage licenses before the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay on that decision. No marriage equality yet, but if their Supreme Court gets to review and issue a decision on the case it might be interesting.

North Carolina seems to have gone through some odd convulsions this week, but today same-sex couples were getting married there. But yesterday the North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem and the House Speaker (who both belong to a political party whose name begins with "R") filed a motion to intervene. Those two have retained John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, as their counsel. The National Organization for Marriage has been at the vanguard in defending bans on marriage equality across the nation. That is to say, they have a HUGE losing record that gets bigger by the day. As if to confirm that, a court decision in North Carolina today struck down the same-sex ban there, which probably kills the brief attempt by the Legislature.

Johnson County, Kansas is made up mostly of affluent suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. The county's chief judge ordered the Johnson County Clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But that was Wednesday the 8th. Tonight, Friday the 10th, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered a hold on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but marriage license applications can still be accepted. UPDATE: One couple did get married in Johnson County. So far, they are only identified as Kelli and Angela.

Hawaii: the case there has been ruled moot.

Nevada couples are marrying.

Alaska: oral arguments have been scheduled to deal with plaintiff's motion for summary judgement.

Arizona: a judge has requested arguments from both sides as to whether the most recent 9th Circuit Appeals decision (Nevada, Idaho) applies to Arizona as well.

Florida is also continuing the fight in court. A deadline for the defendants has been extended to November 15! A lot can happen in a month.

Missouri plaintiffs have requested to file a sur-reply (new word for me!). That would seem to be an additional reply after they already replied to a motion for judgement by the intervenors (filling the role of defendants). The sur-reply seeks to inform the court that something didn't happen at the U.S. Supreme Court which is relevant.

permalink | October 10, 2014 at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2014

A Wrench In The Back Of Head Means "No"

A gay serial rapist! That's so rare I never heard of one before.

Eventually, [accused Jeffrey] Bugai allegedly threw the victim to the floor, wrapped his legs around him, and told him "that he wanted to suck [the victim's] penis" and that they were going to have sex.

The man soon hit Bugai in the back of the head with a wrench and fled.

permalink | October 9, 2014 at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2014

Florida Will Fight To Be #50

Florida is willing to spend every last dollar in its treasury if that's what it takes to drag out the inevitable decision to permit same sex marriage there. That is, unless the Republican Governor gets the boot in next month's election. Polls show the Democrat and Republican nearly tied...probably because the polls also show Floridians have negative opinions of both. That is, in answering the question "Is your opinion of [name] favorable or unfavorable?" The Republican gets 36% favorable/46% unfavorable, while the Democrat gets 36%/44%.

permalink | October 8, 2014 at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

#28 - North Carolina

"Fourth Circuit, Chief U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. has lifted the stay on same-sex marriage licenses in North Carolina." The decision.

permalink | October 8, 2014 at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

The LDS Response

Released on Monday afternoon:

The succession of federal court decisions in recent months, culminating in today's announcement by the Supreme Court, will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God. In prizing freedom of conscience and Constitutional guarantees of the free exercise of religion, we will continue to teach that standard and uphold it in our religious practices.

Nevertheless, respectful coexistence is possible with those with differing values. As far as the civil law is concerned, the courts have spoken. Church leaders will continue to encourage our people to be persons of good will toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation.

permalink | October 8, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

Idaho

With a Republican Governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature, you just had to know that Idaho would spend more money so that government could limit the rights of its citizens. Idaho requested a stay of yesterday's decision by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy granted a temporary stay until 5 PM Thursday. Then a more permanent stay will be considered.

permalink | October 8, 2014 at 07:57 AM | Comments (2)

October 7, 2014

Idaho & Nevada are 26 and 27 - or maybe vice versa

The 9th Circuit Appeals court has upheld the finding that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and reversed a finding that Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional. Nevada officials had already stopped defending the ban. No stay of the decisions is expected.

Read the decision here.

permalink | October 7, 2014 at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

Colorado Makes It 25

Colorado has called it quits in the marriage fight. Colorado is in the Tenth Circuit and asked that their appeal be dismissed. And it was. The Colorado Attorney General has ordered all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples as they would opposite sex couples. Five more states are expected to gain marriage equality over the next few days or weeks.

permalink | October 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)