October 13th, 2014
With Idaho, North Carolina and Alaska now liberated from anti-gay marriage laws, we have now crossed the 60% mark in the American population living in the thirty states and the District of Columbia with full marriage equality. If we were the Senate, we could break a filibuster.
Vladimir Putin Can See Gay Marriages From His House
October 12th, 2014
The Land of Sarah Palin is now in the marriage equality column. In a surprise summary judgment — the surprise being that it came out on Sunday afternoon local time after having heard oral arguments Friday afternoon –Federal District Judge Timothy Burgess found (PDF: 206KB/25 pages) ” that Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
The ruling comes less than a week after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Alaska’s Federal Courts, overturned bans in Idaho and Nevada. The ruling takes effect immediately, and there was no stay issued with it. Nonetheless, Gov. Sean Parnell quickly announced that he would try to appeal the decision.
Alaska has a three day waiting period. While couples should be able to get marriage licenses on Monday, marriages may not take place before Thursday.
Did SCOTUS just bless heightened scrutiny?
October 10th, 2014
When Idaho presented its brief explaining why the Ninth Circuit’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, it focused on one point. Rather than argue the same tired arguments that have lost across the country and which were insufficient to merit certiorari in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, Idaho argued that it was the reasoning used in the Ninth, rather than it’s conclusion, which should be reconsidered.
On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit included in its ruling:
Without the benefit of our decision in SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Labs., 740 F.3d 471 (9th Cir. 2014), reh’g en banc denied, 759 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2014), the Sevcik district court applied rational basis review and upheld Nevada’s laws. Sevcik v. Sandoval, 911 F. Supp. 2d 996 (D. Nev. 2012). After we decided SmithKline, the Latta district court concluded that heightened scrutiny applied to Idaho’s laws because they discriminated based on sexual orientation, and invalidated them. Latta v. Otter, No. 1:13-CV-00482-CWD, 2014 WL 1909999, at *14–18 (D. Idaho May 13, 2014). We hold that the Idaho and Nevada laws at issue violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they deny lesbians and gays who wish to marry persons of the same sex a right they afford to individuals who wish to marry persons of the opposite sex, and do not satisfy the heightened scrutiny standard we adopted in SmithKline.
When the Ninth Circuit decided SmithKline, Abbott Labs chose not to appeal the ruling, specifically because it was their wish to leave the section on heightened scrutiny as precedent and not subject it to potential loss at the Supreme Court. So this assertion by the Ninth has not been considered by the higher court.
Which brings the denial of extended stay by the Supreme Court into a different light. It may be that SCOTUS did not predict any likelihood of Idaho’s ban being upheld irrespective of the degree of scrutiny. Or it may mean that SCOTUS sees no likelihood of the Ninth’s application of heightened scrutiny being reversed.
Meanwhile in Arizona
October 10th, 2014
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick issued an order Thursday night stating he believes this week’s appellate court ruling that declared Idaho and Nevada’s marriage restrictions unconstitutional applies to Arizona as well. The U.S District Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Tuesday that Idaho and Nevada’s marriage restrictions violated couples’ rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Sedwick, an Alaska judge who often helps pick up Arizona cases, gave the parties in two lawsuits challenging Arizona’s law until Thursday to file briefs arguing how the 9th Circuit decision does or does not apply.
North Carolina GOP petitions to intervene
October 9th, 2014
The Republican majority in the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives have filed a brief arguing that the ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied certiorari by the Supreme Court, does not apply to their state. Because those crazy liberals in Virginia made concessions in court that the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature would never make, therefor their ban on same-sex marriage – unlike everyone else’s – should be upheld.
They are being represented by John Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, who ran Attorney General in the Republican primary, winning 34%. Eastman is not exactly the most persuasive of legal minds and his involvement is likely to be an advantage to marriage equality proponents. You may recall him from his unbroken string of colossal losses in NOM’s battle to defy state political donor laws.
Should the judge write a big giant F in red ink across the face of their brief, they alternately want to be granted the right to appeal any ruling for marriage to the Fourth Circuit (who already ruled for equality), to the court en banc (good luck with that) and to the Supreme Court (which has already denied cert from this circuit).
October 9th, 2014
Just for some perspective:
When the National Organization for Marriage was formed to oppose marriage equality in 2007, only
two one state, Massachusetts and Connecticut, offered marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Today, seven years later, 27 states along with the nation’s capital offer marriage equality.
NOM was helpful in passing four state-based constitutional bans on same-sex marriages:
* California – has marriage equality
* Arizona – is in the Ninth Circuit and should have equality shortly
* Florida – ban has been found unconstitutional and is on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit
* North Carolina – is expected to issue marriage licenses quite soon
Estonia recognizes same-sex couples
October 9th, 2014
Estonia is the northernmost of the Baltic states with about the same population and half the land mass as Maine. Bordered by Latvia and Russia (it’s a former soviet country), it does not have a strong history of support for its gay and lesbian residents.
However, Estonia appears to be taking steps towards Western Europe and away from Russia and her satellites. (ABC)
In Estonia, lawmakers voted 40-38 vote to approve a partnership act that recognizes the civil unions of all couples regardless of gender. Twenty-three lawmakers were absent or abstained in the third and final reading of the bill.
The new law will gives those in civil unions — heterosexual or gay — almost the same rights as married couples, including financial, social and health benefits provided by the government and legal protection for children. It does not give adoption rights for couples in such unions but does allow one partner to adopt the biological child of the other.
It comes into force in January 2016, after it has been signed by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who supported the bill.
This is likely disappointing to Scott Lively who made Estonia, along with Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus, a target for his exportation of anti-gay activism.
Kennedy lifts Nevada stay
October 8th, 2014
Judge Kennedy has just lifted the stay on the Nevada portion of the Ninth Circuit’s mandate to implement their ruling on marriage equality.
Confused? You’re not alone.
But what this means is that Nevada will likely begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this afternoon.
Idaho on temporary stay
October 8th, 2014
While Nevada has joyfully cued the violins and baked the cakes, Governor Butch Otter in
Nevada Idaho seems to have won a delay in his state’s implementation of marriage equality. The Butch Otter has appealed to the United States Supreme Court and the justice responsible for granting stay in the Ninth Circuit, Anthony Kennedy, has so granted. (Reuters)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that struck down Idaho’s gay marriage ban.
The brief order issued by the court said that gay marriage supporters should file a response to the state’s emergency request by 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Thursday. The court will then decide whether to issue a more permanent stay. In the meantime, gay marriages in Idaho will not be able to proceed.
This may be but a formality until such time as briefs are filed and reviewed. And while this is disappointing and infuriating, part of our legal system is to allow all parties the right to be heard.
UPDATE: I should point out that the stay (should it be granted further life than tomorrow at 5 pm) is until the Ninth Circuit rules en banc – a larger group of judges – on the matter.
The Best Line In All of Legaldom
October 7th, 2014
The Ninth Circuit’s ruling (PDF: 238 KB/43 pages) that struck down marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada included this gem on page 21:
Same-sex marriage, Governor Otter asserts, is part of a shift towards a consent-based, personal relationship model of marriage, which is more adultcentric and less child-centric.12
No, that sentence isn’t it. It’s that tiny little 12 at the end of it, referring to the best damn footnote in all of legaldom:
12 He also states, in conclusory fashion, that allowing same-sex marriage will lead opposite-sex couples to abuse alcohol and drugs, engage in extramarital affairs, take on demanding work schedules, and participate in time-consuming hobbies. We seriously doubt that allowing committed same-sex couples to settle down in legally recognized marriages will drive opposite-sex couples to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.
Colorado makes 25 – half of US States have marriage equality
October 7th, 2014
Yesterday the state of Colorado began offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples under the determination that the denial of certiorari in the Tenth Circuit substantively applied the circuit court’s ruling about the unconstitutionality of anti-gay marriage bans to all states in the circuit.
They also took the step of requesting that the Tenth Circuit dismiss Colorado’s appeal of a district judge’s ruling on their own ban. Today the court dismissed their appeal and marriage equality became official.
Colorado became the 25th state (along with the District of Columbia) to have marriage equality.
In the next couple of days or weeks, that number will swell to 30, as other states in the Fourth and Tenth Circuit are so directed by federal judges, likely by means of summary judgment.
Peter LaBarbera Calls for “Civil Disobedience on a Massive Scale”
October 7th, 2014
From a press release:
Yesterday’s action by the Supreme Court only solidifies the idea that the powerful elites who dominate politics, media and culture do not care what the people think, expressed through the ballot box or their elected state legislators. And if “We the People’s” votes do not count, then We live not in freedom but under tyranny.
The notion that nine men and women in black robes know more about what constitutes marriage than 76 percent of Oklahoma’s voters is insulting and preposterous. Now is the time for civil disobedience on a massive scale: we hope that statesmen and citizens alike–in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana, Utah and Virginia—indeed, any state where the people’s will has been robbed by elitist judges—will reassert their state sovereignty against escalating judicial supremacy.
Tony Perkins: “Winning!”
October 6th, 2014
Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins has cornered the market on rose-colored glasses this afternoon:
If liberals should be anything, it’s worried. When it comes to marriage, time is not on their side. Deep down, the Left knows it needed the Court to force same-sex “marriage” on America before more people saw the fallout for Christians like Aaron and Melissa Klein. Or sportscasters like Craig James. Or CEOs like Brandon Eich. Ask them if same-sex “marriage” is just about two people who love each other. For them, it was about losing their business, their livelihood, and their freedom.
If the Supreme Court thinks America isn’t ready for same-sex “marriage,” they’re right. As more states are forced to recognize it, people will see the ensuing attacks on religious freedom. They’ll feel the wedge driven between parents and their children when school curriculum is changed to contradict the morals moms and dads are teaching at home. They’ll shudder as more people lose their jobs because they refuse to celebrate (not just tolerate) same-sex “marriage.” Maybe then they’ll realize that the true goal is not about the marriage altar — but fundamentally altering society.
As disappointing as the Supreme Court’s silence is, the good news is that the debate over same-sex “marriage” will continue. With 92 cases on marriage flooding the courts, conservatives have a chance to push back and demand that Congress step in where SCOTUS has not. By refusing to get involved in a mess it helped create, the justices are leaving our laws vulnerable to rogue judges on the lower courts. With the exception of one district court, the benches have been filled with black-robed tyrants who insist on substituting their radical ideology for history, legal precedent, and the consensus of voters and the law. That has to stop.
Press Release of the Day
October 6th, 2014
I was wondering whatever happened to him:
“Delgaudio Issues Promise to Fight for Right to Vote Our Beliefs — No Black Gowned Back-Stabbing Liberal Jurist is Silencing Us”
In a recorded interview today with a Washington, D.C. area news media outlet, Public Advocate Eugene Delgaudio made a statement and now releases a complete statement here, part of which was made elsewhere:
Today with the announcement by the Supreme Court that they would not hear appeals to uphold traditional marriage we enter a new phase to preserve America’s traditional values.
We will not surrender the defense of marriage or the right to free speech for Christians and all those Americans who believe in traditional values.
I promise you one liberal jurist, John Roberts, in a gown is not going to stop millions of determined traditional marriage believers in our right to proclaim traditional marriage and our moral values.
Not without a fight.
With this decision, the Supreme Court has stripped hundreds of millions of Americans of the Right to Vote their beliefs and protect their communities and families as they see fit. It is now Supreme Court precedence that Freedom of Speech and the Right to Vote are only recognized so long as they are approved by the Liberal Establishment.
Reaction From the President
October 6th, 2014
Just two minutes ago:
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 6, 2014