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marriage equality

BREAKING: You Can Now Get Gay Married in Virginia


Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. affirmed a District Court decision in Bostic v. Schaefer that held Virginia’s ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional. The ruling paves the way for West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to strike down their marriage bans as those states are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Reuters reports:

The appeals court ruled that “the fundamental right to marriage includes a right to same-sex marriage and that therefore Virginia’s marriage laws must be reviewed under strict scrutiny.”

USA Today adds:

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond ruled 2-1 that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry that is paramount to state marriage laws.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” the majority said. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”
The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel’s decision can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court.

Like the first appeals court panel to rule on the issue this year in Utah and Oklahoma, the three-judge panel was deeply divided, but the swing judge — in this case Henry Floyd, who was named to the bench by George W. Bush and elevated to the circuit court by President Obama in 2011 — came down on the side of same-sex marriage.

Another marriage ban bites the dust!



Arizona Attorneys Representing Ban on Same-sex Marriage Resort to Droconian Messaging



Just when you thought the right was out of anti-LGBT messaging, they resort right back to the same old messages and the same old disproven studies. Pink News reports that lawyers representing a group defending the state’s now declared-unconstitutional ban on gay marriage is resorting to language that we thought was no longer helpful to their cause:

Arizona attorneys defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban in court documents by saying it is justified because same-sex couples cannot reproduce without the help of a third person.

The documents, filed Wednesday, say the state regulates private relationships to ensure that children are raised by a biological mother and biological father whenever possible.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that the documents state: “Only man-woman couples are capable of furthering the state’s interest in linking children to both of their biological parents.”

The case, though against the state, is being defended by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is a self-described “legal ministry” headed by Christian leaders to advocate for religious liberty and opposite-sex marriage.

Ok, then. We will wait and see how this argument goes for them.


BREAKING: You Can Now Get Gay Married in Florida


Florida Judge Rules Marriage Ban Unconstitutional |

A county circuit judge in Florida ruled against the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage Thursday.

“This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual,” wrote Judge Luis Garcia of the Monroe County Circuit.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the decision was stayed until Tuesday, at which point same-sex couples in Monroe County can begin to obtain marriage licenses, unless a stay is requested by the state attorney general and granted by the state court of appeals or Florida Supreme Court. At this point, it is not clear whether the state will appeal the ruling, the Miami Herald reports.

Another ban bites the dust! Although this one only applies to the Florida Keys, more lawsuits are in the pipeline making Florida one step closer to full marriage equality.

Here’s a response from Equality Florida:

Said Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida Institute: “This is a monumental step forward for Florida. Today’s historic ruling affirms what the majority of Florida residents already know to be true: All couples and their families deserve to be treated equally by their government.”

The case was brought by Key West residents Aaron Hunstman and William Lee Jones. They are represented by Bernadette Restivo of the law firm Restivo, Reilly & Vigil-Farinas LLC.

On July 7, 2014, Judge Luis Garcia, Monroe County Circuit Court heard oral argument in the case. The couples argued that Florida’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2013 that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Judge Garcia was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican.

Every court to consider these federal constitutional claims since last summer’s Supreme Court decision has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, including federal and state courts in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Equality Florida Institute, in partnership with several Florida organizations, will hold gatherings throughout the state today. These Decision Day gatherings will give an opportunity for all fair-minded Floridians to voice their support for the freedom to marry. Plaintiff couples, members of the legal community and local leaders plan to be at rallies as their schedules allow.

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: The Pride Center at Equality Park, 2040 North Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors 33305

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers 33912

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: United Church of Gainesville, 1624 NW 5th Ave, Gainesville 32603

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Blue Fish, 3551 St. Johns Ave, Jacksonville 32205

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Aqua Nightclub 711 Duval St, Key West 33040

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM 6 – 8 PM
Where: The courtyard of the LGBT Visitors Center, 1130 Washington Ave., Miami Beach 33139

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Celebration MCC, 3400 Radio Road, Unit 107 Naples 34104

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: The Hammered Lamb, 1235 N Orange Ave, Orlando 32804


When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Marina Jack’s, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota 34236

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: King of Peace 3150 5th Ave N, St Petersburg 33713

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: TBD visit

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Unity Church of Tampa, 3302 W. Horatio St, Tampa 33609

When: Day of Decision, 6 PM
Where: Casa Mar Village by Fresh Press Cafe, Mile Marker 81, Oceanside, Tavernier, FL

When: Day of Decision, 4:30 – 6 PM
Where: Palm Beach County Courthouse 205 North Dixie Highway West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Equality Florida Institute is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Global LGBT Acceptance: Croatia Passes Civil Partnerships Law


With some of the bad news we see out of Russia and Uganda, it is always encouraging to see LGBT marriage equality progress in other parts of the world where it would have been unheard of even five years ago:

Their unions will be called ”life partnerships” protected by the Constitution. However, adoption rights for same-sex couples was not included in the bill.

On Tuesday, the Parliament passed the civil union law with 89 votes in favour and 16 against.

The bill was drafted along the lines of its German counterpart, with political support mostly from centre-left and liberal parties in the Coalition Government.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic proposed the legislation saying he was determined to establish legal rights for same-sex couples.

Read more: Croatia passes civil partnerships law ·


Fox News Shrink: LGBT Rights Will Lead to Three Humans and a Dog Marriage


Following California’s lead on changing language in the marriage definition to accommodate same-sex couples, the whackos at Fox News are in a tizzy. Via The Raw Story:

Dr. Keith Ablow, the resident ‘psychiatrist ‘s Fox News and a member of the network’s Medical A-Team, asserted on Wednesday that legalized same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality.

During a Fox & Friends “Normal or Nuts” segment, host Anna Kooiman asked Ablow if it was “normal” for California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to sign a law replacing the words “husband” and “wife” with the word “spouse” in the state’s marriage definition.

“Get ready for the cards and letters,” Ablow quipped. “Nuts!”

“Here’s the thing, the state needs to get out of the marriage business because here’s what we can expect,” he continued. “There’s no way that the state of California can deny a marriage license to four spouses now, eight spouses.”

“Or, I would say, three human spouses and the canine they absolutely love because if love is the foundation of marriage, they can love their dog, too.”

Leona Helmsley left her fortune to her dogs when she died and I’m sure she would have married them if she had the chance. Let’s start with same-sex marriage and take it from there, Dr. Ablow.

Seriously, as marriage equality becomes law of the land, Fox News and other pundits will have to accept that it isn’t just about “man” and “wife” anymore.




The Latest Marriage Map



With Colorado joining the ranks as a marriage-equality state, here’s the latest status of the big picture. We are definitely getting there.

You Can Now Get Gay Married in Kentucky


Wow. Marriage equality is here to stay if Kentucky has “fallen.”

Via Freedom To Marry:

Today, July 1, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down a constitutional amendment in the state that restricts marriage to different-sex couples. Previously, Judge Heyburn struck down the portion of the marriage ban in Kentucky that denies respect to same-sex couples who legally married in other states. Shortly after that ruling (in Love v. Beshear) in February 2014, two unmarried couples intervened in the case, which was retitled Love v. Beshear.

More from Kentucky’s Courier-Journal:

“In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted,” U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II wrote to invalidate Kentucky’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Heyburn in February had ruled that Kentucky must recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Heyburn upheld the right to marry today, but put his ruling on hold pending a decision by a higher court. Heyburn rejected the only justification offered by lawyers for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear — that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state’s long-term economic stability. “These arguments are not those of serious people,” he said. Heyburn held that the ban on gay marriage within Kentucky violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law and that there is “no conceivable legitimate purpose for it.”

The AP reports that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said the state will appeal the decision.

Who is next?


You Can Now Get Gay Married in Indiana


From the Associated Press:

A federal judge has struck down Indiana’s ban on gay marriage, calling it unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause in a mixed ruling involving lawsuits from several gay couples. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ruling means same-sex marriages can begin in the state. The Indiana attorney general’s office says it will appeal. Federal courts across the country have struck down gay marriage bans recently, but many of those rulings are on hold pending appeal. Attorneys on both sides of the issue expect the matter to eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court. It also wasn’t immediately clear what impact Wednesday’s ruling might have on a faltering movement to add a gay marriage ban into the Indiana Constitution.

Congrats to Indiana for being able to partake with the rest of us.