1551 posts categorized "Legal"

May 29, 2014

Sen. Hatch concedes nationwide marriage equality is almost inevitable

Orrin_hatch

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says legal gay marriage is almost certain to become a reality throughout the United States.

"Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on," Hatch said Wednesday on KSL Radio’s "Doug Wright Show." "There is a question whether [the courts] should be able to tell the states what they can or cannot do with something as important as marriage, but the trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn’t admit that just isn’t living in the real world."

The usual crazies will denounce him for saying the obvious. Somewhere Ted Kennedy is smiling.

Houston passes LGBT non-discrimination bill

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(Photo: Twitter/@equalitytexas)

Think Progress reports:

After many hours of testimony from over 200 speakers, the Houston City Council voted 11-6 to approve the Equal Rights Ordinance, which creates nondiscrimination protections for many classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Houston was one of the only large cities in the country that had no municipal nondiscrimination policy.

During the debate, supporters of the bill spoke to alliances across groups, noting how the ordinance would protect following identity classifications: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, and pregnancy. Opponents argued that the protections would impose on religious beliefs, forcing individuals to violate their own religious beliefs by serving, as an example, a marrying same-sex couple. They also asked that the ordinance be put to a city-wide vote instead of being approved by the Council.

The ordinance’s protections will extend to employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Congrats to Mayor Annise Parker and all who worked on the bill. Opponents yesterday pounded repeatedly on the notion that transgender protections would promote voyeurs in bathrooms, despite there being no evidence whatsoever of that ever happening. Thank goodness rationality and fairness prevailed. An anti-gay official is threatening a recall effort against Mayor Parker; so stay tuned.

May 28, 2014

A wedge that won't be driven

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You reports:

The Coalition of African-American Pastors is intimately aligned with the National Organization For Marriage (CAAP head William Owens is listed as NOM's religious liaison) and is one of the co-sponsors of NOM's upcoming March For Marriage. Now look on as this organization helps NOM in its stated goal to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" with a video that promotes the upcoming NOM march by directly comparing "the same-sex marriage agenda" with the KKK, segregation, slavery, racism, and the destruction of the black family. It is beyond disturbing and should disgust many.

Indeed. And it won't work, as LGBT-affirming clergy proved in D.C., and as others, including Rev. Delman Coates, proved in Maryland.

May 27, 2014

Harry Jackson: Lost but not leaving

Right Wing Watch shares the latest from Bishop Harry "Daddy Bear" Jackson *, the carpetbagging minister from P-Town Maryland who led the fight against marriage equality in DC:

In this video, Harry Jackson urges the pastors at the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall to fight the "radical homosexual agenda" and teach lay leaders why "God didn't make anyone that way."

* I am just teasing with my reference to bears and P-Town. When I stand close to Bishop Jackson, his ministerial charisma momentarily envelops me in the healing grace of Jesus.

May 24, 2014

D.C. adoption law draws lesbians from other states to give birth here

Lesbia_parents_come_to_DC
(Photo by Melina Mara / The Washington Post)

WaPo reports.

Bob Summersgill comments:

This wasn't by accident. Thank Phil Mendelson for getting all the pieces in place. Tommy Wells is working on the surrogacy piece.

Yep. This legal option for lesbian couples is the result of efforts by legislators and activists. As Bob indicates, the legalization and regulation of surrogacy agreements is a big remaining piece of the puzzle that we hope to put in place this year.

A huge win for marriage equality

Ronan Farrow interviews Evan Wolfson and Richard Socarides on recent strides for marriage equality. Wolfson avoids commenting on Jo Becker's much-maligned book on the Prop 8 litigation, Forcing the Spring.

May 23, 2014

South Dakota Couples Challenge Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports:

Six couples filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking to block South Dakota's gay marriage ban, leaving North Dakota as the only state in the country with an unchallenged law prohibiting same-sex weddings.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls, challenges a 1996 law passed by the Legislature and a voter-approved 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which means such cases are now pending in 30 states with gay marriage bans. The lawsuit also challenges a U.S. provision allowing states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The day gets closer and closer when marriage equality will extend from sea to shining sea.

May 21, 2014

1974 video: Kameny defends gay marriage on PBS

S-FRANK-KAMENY-large

Please follow this link to the "OpenVault" page at WGBH Boston, since I cannot embed the video.

Our friend Michael Bedwell brings to our attention an archival video of a televised debate from May 1974 on what we now call marriage equality. It was done in the form of a mock trial. The witnesses included Elaine Noble (for) and Dr. Charles Socarides (against). It is a bracing hour of debate from long before marriage equality was on the minds of many LGBT activists (though GLAA first testified on the subject before the D.C. Council the following year).

I told Frank that I had seen this back in the 1970s, and that he was brilliant, and it had had a great effect on me. He said he had no recollection of having done it. He forgot more accomplishments than other people had accomplishments.

May 20, 2014

Judge Overturns Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Ban

NYT reports:

Continuing a rush of rulings that have struck down marriage limits across the country, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional....

Pennsylvania is the last of the Northeast states with a ban on same-sex marriage, and if Tuesday’s ruling is not successfully challenged, it will become the 19th state to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Judge Jones did not issue a stay.... Even as Gov. Tom Corbett said he was studying the decision and considering whether to appeal it, state officials began issuing marriage licenses on Tuesday afternoon to overjoyed gay couples.

Hooray.

Marriage News Watch

The latest (as of May 19) from Matt Baume of AFER. The summary:

The National Organization for Marriage screws up again in Oregon. Judges in Idaho and Arkansas rule that marriage bans violate the US Constitution. Following another round of hearings, rulings are due any day now in Virginia and Pennsylvania. And a new lawsuit in Alaska leaves just three states with an unchallenged marriage ban.

Court orders Utah to recognize in-state same-sex marriages

The Blade reports.

Next up (after 2 pm today): Pennsylvania!

Federal Judge Strikes Down Oregon's Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports (and I apologize for the delay caused by another Distributed Denial of Service attack against TypePad, our blog service):

A federal judge on Monday struck down Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said the ban unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and ordered the state not to enforce it. State officials earlier refused to defend the constitutional ban in court.

McShane joined judges in seven other states who have struck down gay marriage bans, though appeals are underway.

Oregon state officials have said they'd be prepared to carry out same-sex marriages almost immediately, and couples lined up outside the county clerk's office in Portland in anticipation of the McShane's decision.

May 17, 2014

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

From the United Nations, on the above video:

The United Nations Free & Equal campaign presents a message on this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Share your story and change hearts and minds -- we are all the foundation for this movement for equality.

Click here for more information.

President Barack Obama issued the following statement yesterday:

Continue reading "Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia" »

May 15, 2014

O'Malley signs transgender rights bill

Transgender_Rights_Bill_signing_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key
(Photo by Michael Key / Washington Blade)

The Blade reports:

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday signed into law a bill that bans discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

“We are closer today to creating an open, respectful, inclusive world that we want for all of our children,” said O’Malley before signing Senate Bill 212 — the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 — into law. “This bill gives us another step closer to that vision and to that reality.”

Congrats to our Maryland colleagues for this achievement.

NOM barred from intervening in Oregon marriage case

Brian-Brown-AP-File
(AP photo of Brian Brown)

The Blade reports:

The anti-gay group seeking to take part in a case challenging Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage was denied status Wednesday as an intervenor in the lawsuit, clearing the way for a final ruling on marriage equality in the state at any time.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, who’s hearing the consolidated cases of Rummell vs. Kitzhaber and Geiger vs. Kitzhaber, ruled from the bench immediately following a hearing on the issue that the National Organization for Marriage couldn’t take part in the litigation....

In a first for any marriage equality case, no party in the lawsuit contended Oregon’s ban was constitutional. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February the law, Measure 36, was indefensible, and Multnomah County, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had pledged to hand out licenses to same-sex couples as soon as law is struck down.

May 14, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports:

A federal judge has struck down Idaho's gay marriage ban and ordered the state to begin giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday.

May 11, 2014

Arkansas has its first same-sex weddings

HuffPo and AP report:

Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a license Saturday morning to Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, of Fort Smith. They had slept in a Ford Focus after arriving in Eureka Springs at 2 a.m. Saturday and were the first of about 10 couples to line up outside of the courthouse before it opened.

When the license was issued, Rambo said, "Thank God." Seaton and Rambo, who have been together four years, then held a marriage ceremony on the courthouse steps. A woman in a rainbow dress officiated.

Congrats to the happy couples. The fight is not over, of course, but when marriage equality breaks out in Dixie, we know it's a changed world.

May 07, 2014

Why Are So Many LGBT People and People Living with HIV Behind Bars?

CrimJustSystem-graphic

From the Center for American Progress, an interesting infographic and report that were the subject of a lunchtime panel today.

May 06, 2014

Tobias Wolff nails Forcing the Spring

In case you missed it: One of the smartest analyses I've seen on NYT reporter Jo Becker's book on the Prop 8 case is this Tobias Wolff piece in The New Republic. A taste:

Or there is the passage in which Becker describes the decision by lawyer Ted Olson to take on the case. Olson proclaims, “I will not just be some hired gun. I would be honored to be the voice for this cause,” only to explain three sentences later that the cost of this not-a-hired-gun honor will be a discounted fee of $2.9 million plus expenses. David Boies, too, agrees to sign on for the “deeply discounted fee” of $250,000 plus expenses. (Public records indicate that the totals ran north of $6 million.) Becker must be lampooning these rich mega-lawyers for their capitalist rendition of pro bono legal representation, and she is not gentle.

SPLC: Man Who Tried to Kill Hundreds at Gay Bar Pleads Guilty to Arson Only

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(Seattle police photo)

David Neiwert at Southern Poverty Law Center reports:

The man who tried to kill a crowd of 750 people packed inside a popular Seattle gay bar by setting it afire on New Year’s Eve has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of arson. Despite some evidence that he was motivated by hatred of LGBT people, Musab Mohammad Masmari will not face federal hate crime charges....

The plea agreement specifies that prosecutors will only seek a five-year prison sentence for the crime. However, prosecutors told KOMO-TV that the judge was free to ignore their recommendations and sentence Masmari to a prison term ranging up to 20 years.

ACLU opposes DOMA lawyer’s intervention in marriage case

Edie-Arrives-in-Court
(Edith Windsor at SCOTUS with Attorney Roberta Kaplan. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Blade reports:

The national group that teamed up with a lesbian attorney to litigate successfully against the Defense of Marriage Act is now arguing against her participation in a lawsuit against a ban on same-sex marriage in her home state.

In a filing Friday before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Civil Liberties Union — along with private attorneys at Gerhardstein & Branch — expressed opposition to Roberta Kaplan’s intervention in a case seeking recognition of same-sex marriages in Ohio for the purposes of death certificates.

It is so uplifting watching attorneys on the same side squabbling.

May 02, 2014

Judge expects to rule on Arkansas marriage by May 9

Chris Johnson at the Blade reports.

Barton: Not Allowing Women To Vote Was Designed 'To Keep The Family Together'

David_barton_on_huckabee

Right Wing Watch reports:

On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton explained that women were not given the right to vote when the Constitution was written because the Founding Fathers were trying to protect the institution of the family by giving every "family" a right to vote through the male head of the household.

Responding to a question from a listener who argued that the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand, Barton said that this interpretation was exactly right because not allowing women to vote was designed "to keep the family together":

Those who think Mr. Jefferson did not entertain the idea of a "wall of separation" should try reading Mr. Jefferson. His January 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists includes this:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

April 25, 2014

Rand Paul and other Republican leaders back away from Bundy

WaPo reports.

Cliven Bundy's "they were better off as slaves" idea, loony as it is, has a very long provenance. The longtime Virginia and Kentucky state songs, for example, evoked nostalgia for antebellum times when slaves were happy on the plantation. Clearly some people still cling to this. As it happens, many plantations have been preserved. Why not offer these nostalgic white folks the experience of what it was like? And I don't mean for a weekend.

Meanwhile, Alan Keyes explains that Bundy is not racist, you are.

April 23, 2014

Geidner: The New Book About The Marriage Equality Movement Gets The Big Things Wrong

Prop_8_team_outside_SCOTUS
(Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed critiques Jo Becker's book on the court fight over Proposition 8, which is being widely criticized. As Chris says, "A 434-page book about a lawsuit that promised to bring marriage equality to all Americans, but only resulted in restoring marriage equality in California, is a tough sell."

Regarding the above photo of the plaintiffs and legal team, my first question was, "Which one of those guys is Tom Cruise?"

April 17, 2014

No, Chad Griffin is not Rosa Parks

Chad-Griffin-by-Rex-Wockner-thumb-500x375-2371

NYT reporter Jo Becker's new book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, includes this preposterous statement:

This is how a revolution begins. It begins when someone grows tired of standing idly by, waiting for history’s arc to bend toward justice, and instead decides to give it a swift shove. It begins when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in the segregated South. And in this story, it begins with a handsome, bespectacled thirty-five-year-old political consultant named Chad Griffin, in a spacious suite at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco on election night 2008.

What pretentious, ahistorical rubbish. The marriage equality movement was a reform movement, not a revolution, and did not begin in 2008. A lot of people were working for marriage equality long before then. We were not standing idly by but laying the groundwork in a variety of ways: strategizing, researching, organizing, educating, lobbying, fundraising, litigating, debating, testifying, writing and advocating in cities and states across the country. We were building support among lawyers, legislators, and opinion makers. We were developing talking points and winning people over in countless difficult conversations and sustained efforts over many years in our families and neighborhoods and faith communities. The assertion that Chad Griffin started it is ridiculous and insulting and discredits Becker's entire book. I hope Griffin has the sense and perspective and respect to distance himself from this hyper-inflated nonsense.

Andrew Sullivan, who was advocating for marriage equality two decades before Griffin came along, offers a bracing take-down to Becker's "jaw-dropping distortion."

I remember Evan Wolfson being viciously attacked in the 90s by gay people for his marriage advocacy. I remember the vitriol Sullivan endured back then as well. How lovely it must be for them, after so many years of trenchant advocacy on the front lines and taking the debate to places others didn't dare go (and would have been unprepared to handle), to be treated like fluffers by people who arrived fairly late in the struggle and stood on the shoulders of those who came before.

For D.C.'s part in the struggle, you can look at the timeline that Bob Summersgill and I prepared, at my oral history shot by students at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High Schools, and at my December 2013 article on the lessons from our victory.

(Photo of Chad Griffin by Rex Wockner)

SCOTUSblog denied press credentials

Supreme-court
(Photo courtesy Brittanica.com)

Politico reports:

SCOTUSblog, the Peabody Award-winning blog that covers the Supreme Court "gavel-to-gavel," has been denied a Senate press pass, which in turn means it cannot be issued a press credential for the Supreme Court. The site's publisher said in a post it will appeal the decision and may litigate the issue if necessary.

It is disgraceful that the go-to source for reporting and analysis on SCOTUS is treated this way. The powers that be need to get with the times.

April 13, 2014

Walking While Trans

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(Photo by John Riley for Metro Weekly)

Planet Transgender reports:

Just days after Monica Jones was seen in this CBS video (embedded below) protesting the failed religious discriminatory law in Phoenix, she was offered a ride while walking to a bar. The driver turned out to be an undercover police officer who then arrested her for "manifestation of prostitution'.

This law is a vague statue which enables officers to arrest woman for no other reason than asking if they are police. The law is used to feed people to "Project Rose" as the city conducts massive drag nets hauling in dozens of individuals at a time. This profiling of woman by police is contested by the Arizona ACLU which notes that "The difference between 'innocent' and 'criminal' behavior often comes down to how a person looks.

A 2011 study in NYC found that 59% of transgender respondents said that they had been stopped by police. So over half of our sisters in NYC had they lived in Phoenix would have faced the prospect of "Project Rose".

In short, a transgender woman of color is simply assumed to be guilty. This makes things more convenient, except of course for the woman criminalized essentially for existing. The Monica Jones case illustrates why we are not done in our battle for equality and justice. Those of us who do not fit the police profile owe it to our trans sisters of color to stand up against this relentless legal assault on their existence.

On Friday, April 11, I participated in a rally outside the Wilson Building here in D.C. at which we expressed support for Monica Jones and called for repeal of the District's so-called Prostitution Free Zones law, which discriminates against transgender women and solves nothing. GLAA's views on PFZs are expressed here.

Metro Weekly reports. I am quoted at some length in the article.

Nevada GOP drops party platforms against gay marriage and abortion

Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a welcome bit of news.

April 09, 2014

Fischer: It's now a crime to be a Christian in America

From Right Wing Watch. Do not rely on Bryan Fischer for information.

Sen. Alan Simpson Supports Freedom to Marry

Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson does this ad for Freedom to Marry. I've met him and his wife. Delightful people.

April 07, 2014

Supreme Court won’t hear anti-gay photographer case

The Blade reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday it won’t take up a case in which a New Mexico photography business alleges its rights were violated when it landed in hot water for refusing to shoot a same-sex wedding ceremony.

In orders published Monday morning, the court listed the case, Elane Photography v. Willock, without comment as among the cases it won’t consider.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Elane Photography, which was found to have violated New Mexico’s anti-discrimination law for refusing to take a photo for the same-sex wedding ceremony for Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth in 2006. (The wedding was only ceremonial because the incident took place before the state legalized same-sex marriage.)

Thank the Goddess for small favors.

April 04, 2014

'Safe Bathrooms DC' Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

The D.C. Office of Human Rights announced on April 3:

D.C. Office of Human Rights

“Safe Bathrooms DC” Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

Innovative reporting method uses Twitter (#safebathroomsDC) to accept complaints

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy & Communications – 202.481.3773; elliot.imse@dc.gov

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Public bathrooms can present many challenges: inevitably long lines, empty paper towel holders, and faucets that manage to spray more water onto your clothes than into your hands. Yet these challenges are trivial when compared to those some transgender and gender non-conforming people face when using gender-specific public bathrooms. Fear of harassment or violence can create a stressful experience, and many people report scouring the neighborhood until they can locate a gender-neutral bathroom. Now, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) is asking community members to help make it a bit easier for the transgender and gender non-conforming community, with today’s launch of its Safe Bathrooms DC campaign.

Aimed at rapidly increasing the number of single-occupancy gender-neutral public bathrooms in the District, the campaign features photos of common bathroom challenges, and aims to encourage people to report non-compliant bathrooms using Twitter or the OHR website. The District is one of the few jurisdictions in the nation that requires all single-occupancy bathrooms at restaurants, businesses or other public places to be gender-neutral, without labels such as “male” or “female.” While in the past non-compliant bathrooms could be reported to OHR through the traditional complaint submission method, now community members can quickly alert OHR by tweeting the business name and location using the hashtag #safebathroomsDC, or by submitting a short five question form on the OHR website.

Continue reading "'Safe Bathrooms DC' Aims to Increase Gender-Neutral Bathrooms" »

Judge to end Ohio ban on recognizing gay marriage

AP reports:

A federal judge said Friday that he will strike down Ohio's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, a move that stops short of forcing Ohio to perform same-sex weddings but will make the state recognize gay couples legally wed elsewhere.

Judge Timothy Black announced his intentions in federal court in Cincinnati following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban.

"I intend to issue a declaration that Ohio's recognition bans, that have been relied upon to deny legal recognition to same-sex couples validly entered in other states where legal, violates the rights secured by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Black said. "(They're) denied their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing and the right to remain married."

Brick by brick, as Lorraine Hansberry once put it.

April 03, 2014

GLAA renews call to repeal 'Prostitution Free Zones'

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Fighting for equal rights since 1971
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139 • equal@glaa.org

April 3, 2014

To:Councilmembers Tommy Wells, Mary Cheh, Jack Evans, Anita Bonds, Muriel Bowser
Cc:Councilmember David Grosso, Council Chair Phil Mendelson
Subject:Please repeal Prostitution Free Zones

Dear Members of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety:

It has come to our attention that Councilmember David Grosso is preparing to introduce a bill to repeal so-called Prostitution Free Zones. It will likely be referred to your committee.

We strongly support repeal of PFZs, as we have previously testified.

The use of Prostitution Free Zones (or PFZs) facilitates discriminatory police profiling of transgender people.[1] It is also a constitutionally questionable practice. As our colleagues from the DC Trans Coalition note:

  1. The Attorney General has determined that PFZs can't be defended in court and are likely unconstitutional.
  2. MPD has suspended PFZ implementation and is working to rescind its PFZ general order.
  3. Eliminating PFZs is a step toward reducing violence against sex workers.
  4. PFZ repeal makes sense from a public health perspective.

We agree with the 2005 testimony of Stephen M. Block, then legislative counsel for ACLU of the Nation's Capital, concerning the bill authorizing temporary PFZs that was then under consideration. I will summarize some of his citations.

Continue reading "GLAA renews call to repeal 'Prostitution Free Zones'" »

Mississippi governor to sign anti-gay 'religious freedom' bill into law

Reuters reports on the latest salvo in the far right's campaign to package their anti-gay fanaticism in the garb of religious freedom.

March 28, 2014

Happy 100th birthday, Ed Muskie!

Senator Angus King (I-Maine) paid tribute on the Senate floor yesterday to the late Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine), whose 100th birthday would have been today.

(Hat tip: Gregory King)

Gov. Snyder: Michigan Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder refuses to recognize 300 legal same-sex marriages conducted in the state after Judge Friedman's March 21 ruling and before a stay was issued pending appeal. Gov. Snyder's action is illegal. A legal marriage is a legal marriage. But the desperate, last-ditch obstruction by the radical right will continue until SCOTUS finishes the work of recognizing our families nationwide.

March 21, 2014

Michigan marriage ruling: 'Loving has profound implications for this litigation'

Another victory in federal court, this time in Michigan. Senior U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman, citing Loving v. Virginia and U.S. v. Windsor, ruled in that state's gay marriage case, DeBoer v. Snyder:

IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Here is Judge Friedman's conclusion:

In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” Tr. 2/25/14 p. 40, state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2694. Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.

Read the court's ruling here.

Congrats and thanks to all who worked to make this ruling possible. A luta continua.

March 19, 2014

195 Democratic lawmakers urge Obama to sign LGBT executive order

Metro Weekly reports:

Nearly every Democratic member of the Senate and 148 Democratic members of the House of Representatives urged President Barack Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from LGBT workplace discrimination in a letter sent Tuesday.

With the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) having hit a wall in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives after passage in the Senate last year, members of the House and Senate called on Obama “to act now to prevent irrational, taxpayer-funded workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans.”

Please do it, Mr. President.