Tagged: same-sex marriage

Alaskan same-sex couples line up for marriage licenses


Click to enlargeAnchorage Daily News/Getty Images

Gay couples began applying for marriage licenses in Anchorage on Monday, 15 years after Alaska helped touch off a national debate with a ban on same-sex unions…

Ann Marie Garber and her partner, Koy Field, were among the first gay couples seeking a license to wed in Alaska. “I had no idea this would happen in my lifetime,” she said.

They decided to apply immediately after the ban was overturned by a federal judge Sunday.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess ruled that ban violated both due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. His ruling came over the objection of gay marriage opponents, including Alaska Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, who has promised to appeal, saying blah, blah, blah, blah.

The ruling in favor of five couples who sued the state in May overturns a constitutional amendment approved by Alaska voters in 1998, defining marriage in the state as between one man and one woman.

It bars enforcement of any state law that keeps gay couples from marrying or refuses to recognize same-sex unions performed elsewhere…

The landscape has changed very quickly for gay marriage in the U.S. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage. The Oct. 6 move effectively legalized gay marriage in about 30 states and triggered a flurry of rulings and confusion in lower courts across the nation, including the Alaska decision.

The lead plaintiff in the Alaska lawsuit was Matthew Hamby, who helped other couples through the application process Monday before completing his own.

He and his husband, Christopher Shelden, plan to renew vows they made in their 2008 marriage in Banff, Alberta, Canada. They haven’t set a date yet, but the $60 licenses are good for three months.

Congratulations from the lower 48 to all the happy couples.

Any other Alaskan whose bigotry and hatred has their knickers bunched — take it and work it, chump!

Civil Rights continue to grow – Republicans continue to fail


Marriage freedom selfies, a new day in Idaho, NevadaJIM URQUHART/REUTERS

Legal momentum for extending U.S. marriage rights to same-sex couples accelerated on Tuesday as a federal appeals court struck down bans on gay matrimony in Idaho and Nevada a day after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand similar rulings for five other states.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the bans in Idaho and Nevada violated the constitution and cannot be enforced, adding to a growing list of states where same-sex unions are now legal.

The 9th Circuit move puts the United States on track for legal gay marriage in 35 states, as rulings by the court are binding on all states in its region including three others that do not permit gay marriage, Arizona, Montana and Alaska…

Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, whose state withdrew its opposition to gay marriage earlier this year, said he respected the ruling, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada welcomed it warmly…

By contrast, Idaho Republican Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said blah, blah, blah…

County clerks’ offices in big cities in Idaho and Nevada said they were reviewing the ruling and waiting for formal direction before issuing licenses.

Diana Alba, clerk of Nevada’s Clark County, said her office had been preparing for weeks, including changing the forms for marriage licenses so they use gender-neutral pronouns, employing “party one” and “party two” instead of “bride” and “groom.”

When we get the green light, we’re ready,” Alba said…

Click the link above to read the complete article. It finishes with a state-by-state update on further challenges to the last few states dragging their feet. Still afraid to enter the 21st Century.

Republican commitment to Christian sharia law illustrates what a dead end that party has become. They haven’t a conservative viewpoint to offer. They only whine “NO”, beat their holier-than-thou bosoms and hope there are enough old white folks left to keep them in office – picking plums off the tree of corporate lobbyists.

In this occasional land of the free, there are plenty of old white folks like me who were willing to stand up for our Black brothers and sisters in the 1950’s. We’re still here and perfectly able to smack Democrats on the butt to get them to join up with progressive women, minorities, young people. Speak out, march to the polls and shove foot-dragging bigots out of the way.

It may not be quick enough to satisfy this short time each of us has to tread on this Earth – but, the need for freedom shall prevail.

UPDATE: Idaho governor apparently whined loud and hard enough to nudge Justice Kennedy into ordering a temporary stay of the order allowing same-sex marriages. Shouldn’t be long before the appellate court can review the plea. Sanity will return.

SCOTUS hides from civil rights — refuses to rule on gay marriage

The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions. The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal now in 30 states.

Without comment, the justices brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states- Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin…

Couples in six other states – Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming – should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s review.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, called on the high court to “finish the job.” Wolfson said the court’s “delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an opponent of same-sex marriage, said blah, blah, blah!

James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union said he believes the court will quickly take up a case if an appeals court upholds state bans.

It takes just four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case, but it takes a majority of at least five for an eventual ruling. Monday’s opaque order did not indicate how the justices voted on whether to hear the appeals.

Most important, the SCOTUS non-ruling lets all the Circuit rulings overturning homophobic state law stand – and extends it automatically to the other states within each circuit. Otherwise, the Supreme Court is as adept as Congress or the White House at avoiding the demonstration of leadership on any critical question.

We are an obedient nation led by cowards.

Real data about same-sex couples instead of homophobe ideology

The US Census Bureau just released information on same-sex couples as part of its release of the 2013 American Community Survey data. Here are some of the highlights from the release.

Same-sex couples are a bit more educated than straight couples. While both married and unmarried gay and lesbian couples are about equally likely to have both partners holding at least a bachelor’s degree, unmarried heterosexual couples are half as likely for this to be the case as married straight couples…

Same sex couples tend to have higher incomes than straight couples….Unmarried straight couples had the lowest average income…

Interracial marriages are more common among same-sex couples than among heterosexual couples…and we know who that pisses off.

RTFA for more demographics. To read the whole report from the Census Bureau – go here.

Florida’s ban on same-sex marrriage ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge overturned Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, saying that 50 years from now it will be seen as “an obvious pretext for discrimination.”

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ordered the state to recognize the marriages of couples who tied the knot in jurisdictions where they could do so legally. But he stayed the order while Florida decides on an appeal.

When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” Hinkle said. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”

As it was with Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, every kind of bigotry held as just and holy by the ignorant and stupid – this, too, shall pass. The shame belongs to the ethically corrupt who try to profit politically from the continuance of bigoted laws.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, supporters of same-sex marriage have challenged laws across the country and have had an almost unbroken string of legal victories…

Overdue.

Texas attorney general: “ban on same-sex marriage promotes childbirth” – Really?

Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage allows the state to promote the birth and upbringing of children in “stable, lasting relationships”, the state’s attorney general argued Tuesday while asking a federal appeals court to reinstate the ban…

“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does,” the brief said.

Mark Pharriss, a longtime friend of Greg Abbott’s who along with his partner sued the state over the ban, argued that the real harm to children is done when their parents aren’t granted “the benefits and protections of a marriage”.

Our constitutional rights are not up for the vote of Texas citizens,” he said. “That point has been made unanimously by every district court and now two circuit courts who have looked at this issue.”

A federal judge declared Texas’ ban unconstitutional in February but allowed it to remain in effect during the appeal process.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the US supreme court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, though most are under appeal. Lawsuits challenging such bans have been filed in all 31 states that prohibited same-sex marriage, while 19 states and the District of Columbia allow such marriages.

Abbott is the front-runner to replace Texas Governor Rick Perry, also an opponent of gay marriage. Abbott’s Democratic opponent, state Senator Wendy Davis, has applauded the ruling invalidating the gay marriage ban.

Since idjits tend to keep on electing idjits, Abbott is probably assured election to replace the current idjit, Rick Perry.

Florida ruling for same-sex marriage adds to list of victories for civil rights

A state judge struck down Florida’s gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

Circuit court judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade county said Florida’s ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, and offended “basic human decency“.

Florida’s attorney general quickly appealed against the ruling. But Zabel said the slew of recent verdicts showed it was “increasingly obvious” it was impermissible to deny couples the right to marry solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, and that doing so served no governmental purpose.

“It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society,” she wrote.

Now, you can see ever more clearly why the Republican Party and their nutball acolytes are blocking affirmation of federal judgeships throughout Obama’s terms in the White House. No one expects him to appoint anyone other than moderate to traditionally-conservative judges; but, even that is too scary for right-wingers and theocrats.

Anyone with an understanding of law beyond 19th Century blood-and-thunder oratory is going to rule favorably upon all the issues Congress is too cowardly to advance.

Religious groups evenly split over same-sex marriage

The opposition to same-sex marriage is often characterized as religious in nature, but major religious groups are close to evenly split on the issue.

The following chart, based on the Pew Research Center’s own table, breaks down the split:

There are Christian and Jewish groups on both sides. Quakers are supportive, while Mormons aren’t. And two major religions — Hinduism and Buddhism — don’t have stances that are clear enough for Pew to interpret.

A church’s stance on the issue also doesn’t necessarily reflect the population that actually follows the faith. While the Vatican takes a very clear stance against LGBT rights, most American Catholics don’t view homosexuality as morally unacceptable. Most American Catholics don’t even view homosexuality as a sin, Pew found.

Still, some groups with religious roots are definitely among the most ardent opponents of same-sex marriage rights. As LGBT advocacy group HRC points out, the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage rights, has ties to the Mormon Church and Catholic Church. But Pew’s findings show the connection doesn’t necessarily reflect on all religions or even worshipers within those sects.

RTFA for the details and digressions. For the life of me I do not comprehend those religions and their leaders who are less than forthcoming in a public way about their support for civil rights. It didn’t used to be so. Early days, when I woke in jail on a Sunday or Monday morning it was no surprise to be sharing that cell with a Buddhist monk or a Catholic priest.

Days since, there has been no special repression of religious advocates for peace or equal rights. But, religious voices in favor of progress are dim and drowned out by anti-abortion bible-thumping, chickenhawks ready to spill Muslim blood on a foreign land – like Tennessee, Protestants who protest lawful rights for gay or lesbian couples. Where did they go this 50% of Believers?

There are people we elect to provide leadership in law and economy. There are people we choose, generally because our parents chose before us in some tired regression, to provide leadership in social well-being and morality. And neither of those classes have the courage or inclination to perform to their job description.

We’re left with the reactionary herd and disciples – elected or God’s minions – and frankly I’m pleased to see the nation in general and especially the generations new and about to be new eager to press on ahead of their papier-mache leaders.

Court rules states can’t ban gay marriage


Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, winning plaintiffs — their dog’s name is Goji

A federal appeals court has ruled…that states must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships and putting a remarkable legal winning streak across the country one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they want to be wedded to someone of the same sex.

The judges added they don’t want to brand as intolerant those who oppose gay marriage, but they said there is no reasonable objection to the practice.

“It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples,” the judges wrote, addressing arguments that the ruling could undermine traditional marriage.

The decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the court: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. However, gay marriages won’t be happening in the near future because the panel immediately put its ruling on hold pending an appeal…

And everyone knows we can count upon the intolerant and bigoted to appeal this decision.

The decision gives increased momentum to a legal cause that already has compiled an impressive record in the lower courts after the Supreme Court last year struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Since then, 16 federal judges have issued rulings siding with gay marriage advocates…

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said blah, blah, blah, blah.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement on its website blah, blah, blah, blah.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert in a statement said blah, blah, blah, blah.

Now same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Recent polls show a majority of Americans support it.

Concepts advanced in times of ignorance need to be reexamined in the context of society, science and knowledge growing over time. Only fools accept textbooks as unchanging and fixed. Yet, the weakest among our species, the least educated and those who profit from fear would keep this nation and the world in darkness centuries old.

Oh yeah, you can count Indiana, now, too. :)

Pic of the Day

gay-marriage-pennsylvania
Click to enlargeReutersDelma and Peg Welch

A federal district judge has struck down a ban on same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, giving American gay rights campaigners their third judiciary victory in just a week.

“We hold that Pennsylvania’s marriage laws violate both the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14h Amendment to the United States Constitution,” said Judge John Jones in a 39-page ruling.

Overdue. Welcome.