All posts by Michael

FAU Student’s Marriage Equality Case Makes it to Appeals Court

Gildas Dousset, a Florida Atlantic University student, filed an appeal in Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals on Wednesday.  He married his husband in Massachusetts in 2013, and when he applied for in-state tuition, he was told that the school was prohibited from recognizing his marriage, and that he would have to pay out-of-state tuition rates.  With FAU’s current tuition, 120 credit hours will cost $62,226 more for an out-of-state student.

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Happy Anniversary, Massachusetts!

Ten years ago today, Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that there was no rational basis to withhold a marriage license from a same-sex couple .  Since then, the state legislature has defeated a proposed anti-equality Constitutional amendment and repealed a 1913 law prohibiting same-sex couples from outside Massachusetts from getting married there.

I tried and tried and tried, but the only thing I could find about anyone being attacked by a horde of frogs was a picture of Lady Gaga, and that picture was taken in Germany, so I guess the only result was a lot of loving couples getting married over the last ten years in Massachusetts?

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Sorry, Virginia!

Not because I forgot about you guys when I was doing the news update this week. I’m apologizing because you had to listen to the dumbest argument against same-sex marriage anyone has offered up to date.

Meet David Oakley. He’s the lawyer representing the county clerk who refused to issue a marriage license to the plaintiffs in the Bostic v. Schaefer case which is currently before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Last time Virginia tried to keep two consenting adults from marrying each other in the case of Loving v. Virginia, miscegenation laws ended up getting struck down for everybody. Surely he has a good reason for why those miscegenation laws were unconstitutional, but laws prohibiting same-sex marriage aren’t, yes?

Not really.

“Before Virginia passed those affirmative anti-miscegenation laws, it might not have been the social norm, but people certainly could have married, and indeed did marry, across racial lines. Pocahontas married John Rolfe in the early 1600s and their marriage wasn’t declared unconstitutional.”

Whoever payed remote attention during U.S. history class and can tell me what’s wrong with that argument first wins a kiss or something.

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Oregon Judge Ready to Rule on Marriage Equality

After telling NOM that you really do need an actual person from Oregon and not someone who was allegedly quivering in fear of the awesomeness that is Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and her host of county clerks armed with ::screams:: forms for same-sex couples to get a marriage license, Judge Michael McShane has announced that he will issue his ruling on Monday, May 19 at noon.

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Arkansas Supreme Court Stays Marriage Equality Ruling

After moving the deadline for lawyers for the plaintiffs to respond to the Attorney General’s motion to stay Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling up to today at 2pm, the Arkansas Supreme Court has decided to stay the ruling pending appeal.

Over 540 couples have obtained marriage licenses in Arkansas over the past week.  The Human Rights Campaign has asked that the Justice Department extend federal recognition to the married couples.

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Marriage is Back On in Two Arkansas Counties

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza revised his ruling today, declaring that a law that prohibited county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was just as unconstitutional as laws that prohibited gay marriage.  Pulaski County issued eleven licenses between the ruling and the close of business, while Washington County will resume giving licenses out tomorrow.  Four other counties are waiting to hear from their lawyers or the state Supreme Court before issuing licenses again.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has asked the state Supreme Court for an emergency order to stop all this homomarryin’ despite his personal belief that same-sex couples deserve the right to get married.  Lawyers for gay couples have until noon to respond.

The state Health Department said it would no longer change birth certificates if both parents in same-sex couple want to be listed as parents while Piazza’s rule is being reviewed.

Legislators in Arkansas seem to have moved on from trying to impeach Piazza to discussing a non-binding resolution asking the state Supreme Court to keep the ban on gay marriage in place.

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I Said “Pretty Sure” Not “100% Sure”

Idaho same-sex couples will not be able to get marriage licenses tomorrow.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay in the ruling while they decide if a longer stay is necessary during the appeals process.  Both Governor Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden have promised to appeal.  This is sort of like when your dad said “We’ll see.” instead of “No.”

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You Missed a Spot, Your Honor

Last week, Arkansas Judge Chris Piazza found the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution.  Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who has said that he personally supports marriage equality, but still defends the ban against it, subsequently began filing as many appeals and motions to stay the ruling pending appeal as he could possibly lay his hands on.  Meanwhile, five Arkansas counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while the rest decided to wait until the Supreme Court weighed in.  I’m assuming the Mississippi River didn’t turn into blood or anything because both Piazza and the Arkansas Supreme Court denied the motions to stay, and the Supreme Court denied the appeal because it was filed before Piazza issued his final order.  My supervisor is standing over me with a spiked club at the moment, so I won’t be making any jokes about being premature at this point.  I apologize.

Surely it’s wedded bliss for these couples during the forthcoming appeal process, yes?  They don’t have to carry around those documents proving they’re their husband’s husband in case of an emergency any more, right?  Well, maybe.  I think?  When the Arkansas Supreme Court denied the motion to stay, they also pointed out that Piazza’s ruling didn’t mention a state law prohibiting county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Attorneys for the plaintiff couples will likely ask Piazza to address this issue in his final order.

Since the Supreme Court pointed out the remaining law, county clerks have stopped issuing licenses.  456 couples have received licenses and can still get married.  Everyone else has to wait at least until Piazza issues his final order and McDaniel files an appeal when he’s supposed to.

I just saved you from going through a million links that read “Gay Marriage in Arkansas!’ “No Gay Marriage in Arkansas!”  “Arkansas Supreme Court Denies Appeal in Gay Marriage Case!” “You Can Get Married!” “No, You Can’t!” You’re welcome.

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We’re Pretty Sure You’ll Be Able to Wed in Idaho on Friday

Unless an appellate court grants a stay in the ruling, Idaho’s marriage ban has been struck down, and couples will be able to get married on Friday, May 16.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled that Idaho’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  Idaho Governor Butch Otter, who seriously has the BEST name of any politician out there, filed a contingent motion to stay pending appeal before Dale even issued her ruling.  Responses to the motion from the lawyers for the plaintiffs are due by June 5.

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Ellen-Rosenblum

Here’s to the Most Terrifying Attorney General in America!

Oh, Ellen Rosenblum, people can find some lawyers to be terrifying, and you are certainly no exception.  You announced that you wouldn’t defend Oregon’s ban on marriage equality back in February, and that mere statement had members of NOM so terrified that they had to wait until 48 hours before an April hearing to file a motion to intervene in the case.  Now that their big, exciting day of being able to stand in front of Judge Michael McShane has arrived, they can’t find anyone willing to testify that they have been or could be harmed by the repeal of Oregon’s anti-equality laws, citing “grave concerns about possible threats, harassment, and retaliation should they do so.” In their brief, NOM claims to be the only person or organization willing to stand up for Oregonians who feel their voting rights are being trampled on.  They claim that the Attorney General’s refusal to defend the law in court has created a climate in Oregon that will result in any of these county clerks, voters, or local business owners being tarred and feathered if they stand up for the discriminatory laws or something.

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