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Posts tagged "Marriage Equality"

thepoliticalfreakshow:

WASHINGTON — The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held Monday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional.

On a 2-1 vote, the appeals court joined the wave of court decisions declaring such bans unconstitutional. The decision, by Judge Henry Floyd acknowledged both the debate over such laws and, in the court’s view, the clear constitutional impediment to laws banning same-sex couples from marrying.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” he wrote. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”

In considering the matter, Floyd, joined by Judge Roger Gregory, ruled, “The Virginia Marriage Laws … impede the right to marry by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and nullifying the legal import of their out-of-state marriages. Strict scrutiny therefore applies in this case.”

Judge Paul Niemeyer dissented from the decision, writing, “Because there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage and there are rational reasons for not recognizing it, just as there are rational reasons for recognizing it, I conclude that we, in the Third Branch, must allow the States to enact legislation on the subject in accordance with their political processes.”

The court heard arguments in the case in May.

Read the opinion.

Source: Chris Geidner for Buzzfeed

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A second Florida judge has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and unenforceable. It is the second such ruling in the state in as many weeks. Like last week’s ruling, the decision has been stayed pending appeal, so same-sex couples cannot yet begin marrying in Florida.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel opened her decision with an excerpt from Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that overturned all bans on interracial marriage. Referring to passages like, “The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious… discriminations,” she noted that the language “applies equally” to the case at hand. She suggested it was “disingenuous” of the state to ignore it in their arguments.

Zabel dismissed many of the arguments made by Florida in court, including attempts to define “marriage” as inherently only being between a man and a woman. “The inquiry is not whether there is a right to same-sex marriage,” she emphasized, “but whether same-sex couples can be excluded from the right to marriage.”

Arguments about childrearing also fell flat, particularly because of Florida’s own jurisprudence; state courts previously knocked down laws banning same-sex couples from adopting in 2010. Not only does the court record show that same-sex couples make equally effective parents, but it demonstrates that child-rearing is a separate issue from marriage altogether. “Rather,” Zabel wrote, “the marriage bans merely prevent same-sex couples from having their already existent families and partnerships recognized in the same manner as opposite-sex couples,” which harms the children they are already raising.

Noting the country’s long history of overcoming prejudice and discrimination, Zabel concluded that, “as evidenced by the avalanche of court decisions unanimously favoring marriage equality, the dam that was denying justice on this front has been broken.”

Source: Zack Ford for ThinkProgress

thepoliticalfreakshow:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) on Tuesday introduced the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act in the U.S. House, a bill to close loopholes in the Social Security Act and guarantee that all married couples, including same-sex couples, receive the Social Security and Medicare spouse and survivor benefits that they have earned.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)AP

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)

Following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, the Department of Justice conducted a review to determine implementation of spouse and survivor benefits.

The review concluded that, despite Section 3 of DOMA being ruled unconstitutional, several provisions of the Social Security Act prohibit the federal government from paying same-sex married couples their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits if the state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The Social Security Act also requires couples to be married for nine months before they can qualify for Social Security benefits, or twelve months for a retired spouse to receive benefits.

Takano’s bill would close these loopholes by:

  • Repealing discriminatory provisions and allow the Social Security Administration to award benefits to any marriage that is valid.
  • Allowing same-sex married couples whose marriage was prohibited by state law to use a combination of marriage time and time in domestic partnership to qualify for benefits.
  • Requiring the Social Security Administration to conduct a comprehensive outreach campaign to encourage same-sex couples to apply for the benefits they may be owed.

“One year has passed since the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Takano, one of only eight openly LGBT members of the U.S. Congress. “However, the Department of Justice’s interpretation of existing law means that some same-sex couples who live in discriminatory states could be denied Social Security or Medicare benefits.”

“The Social Security and Medicare Parity Act of 2014 closes that loophole and guarantees that all married couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, receive the Social Security and Medicare spouse and survivor benefits they have earned,” he said.

UPDATE: Here’s the Tumblr for Rep. Mark Takano, who follows me on Tumblr: repmarktakano

thepoliticalfreakshow:

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore, an Obama appointee, issued a ruling declaring that Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Moore stayed the decision, but only temporarily until Monday.

State Attorney General John Suthers (R), who has been defending Colorado’s ban, made a strange tactical decision in this particular case. Though he argued that he believes the ban is constitutional, he still asked Moore to overturn it and then stay that decision. This, Suthers seemed to hope, would force Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

Since last month, when the 10th Circuit agreed with a lower court that Utah’s same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Hall has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She has argued that the 10th Circuit’s stay in the Utah case only applies to Utah, but its ruling against marriage bans applies to the whole Circuit, which includes Colorado. Suthers has asked state courts to force Hall to stop, but his requests have been denied, including again Wednesday morning. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Boulder County Clerk’s office reports that it has issued a total of 181 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore’s decision follows a ruling by a Colorado state judge earlier this month similarly overturning the state’s law. The two cases will proceed in their separate jurisdictions.

Source: Zack Ford for ThinkProgress

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Jody Hice is a pastor running to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia’s 10th Congressional district. He also hosts The Jody Hice Show, a local radio show in Georgia “that is centered around defending liberty.”

Jody Hice is a pastor running to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia's 10th Congressional district. He also hosts The Jody Hice Show , a local radio show in Georgia "that is centered around defending liberty."

Hice previously ran for Congress in 2010, losing to current Rep. Rob Woodall in a runoff. He is likely to make a runoff again in a crowded field to replace Broun. Jody Hice Facebook

On one episode of Hice’s radio show, the topic of marriage equality came up. Hice had a few thoughts.

Hice says marriage equality will have an “enormous, erosive effect on marriage and family.”


He says “homosexuals have the right to be married” just not “to one another.”

And that children need two parents of different genders to grow up in the most “healthy, psychological, emotional, spiritual, physical” environment.

Hice calls it “totally unreasonable” to compare marriage equality with the Civil Rights struggle because “you cannot change your race” but “thousands and thousands of people” have chosen not to be gay.

He adds that “our Constitution does not protect sexual preference,” and compares the lack of a parent of one gender in same-sex couple with children to “losing mom or dad in a car accident.”

Source: Andrew Kaczynski for Buzzfeed

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

H/T: Sean Sullivan at The Washington Post

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A federal appeals court has ruled for the second time that states cannot prevent same-sex couples from getting married.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday has found a ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma violates the U.S. Constitution. In a Utah case, the court ruled June 25 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.

Lower courts struck down Utah and Oklahoma’s voter-approved bans in December and January, respectively.

The rulings are the first at the appellate level since the U.S. Supreme Court changed the legal landscape by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013. They are likely to be appealed to the high court.

Gay marriage in both states is on hold until appeals are resolved.

Developing story. This report will be updated.

Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality gets struck down. 

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Unlike other pro-marriage equality rulings in other states, this particular ruling appears to be for only the Florida Keys region instead of statewide. 

NOTE: On the term “Profiles in Cowardice” in the headline, it refers to the Vikings’ actions related to the independent review on Chris Kluwe. 

h/t: Travis Waldron at Think Progress Sports

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade

In contrast to Jim Wallis, I am a full supporter of LGBTQ rights.

h/t: John M. Becker at The Blierico Project