Kansas Supreme Court Allows More Gay Marriages

The Kansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for additional gay marriages in the state.

The court on Tuesday evening lifted its hold on marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Johnson County. The justices last month blocked such licenses while reviewing a petition from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

But the Kansas court did not address whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional. It said it wouldn’t consider the issue until the federal courts resolve a lawsuit filed month on behalf of two lesbian couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week told the state it couldn’t continue enforcing its gay-marriage ban while the ACLU’s lawsuit makes its way through the federal courts.

Since then, gay couples have been getting married in some, but not all Kansas counties.

Source: The Associated Press, “Kansas Supreme Court Allows More Gay Marriages,” TOPEKA, Kan. — Nov 18, 2014, 6:29 PM ET

Marriage Equality Poised to Reach South Carolina Thursday

Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declined South Carolina’s request to stay marriage equality in the state pending appeal of the district court decision striking down the state’s ban.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled against South Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making the Palmetto State the latest to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June.  In Condon v. Haley, Lambda Legal and private attorneys sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argue that South Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution.  In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Shaeffer, in which the federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic is binding precedent on South Carolina.

Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 points increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins.  And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group.  According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality.  40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent,according to the New York Times.  These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.

Marriage equality could begin the state as early as this week.

Source: HRC Blog, “Marriage Equality Poised to Reach South Carolina Thursday,” November 18, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media

Tennessee Plaintiffs Appeal Sixth Circuit Ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court

Today National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), attorneys Abby Rubenfeld, Maureen Holland, and Regina Lambert, and the law firms of Sherrard & Roe PLC and Ropes & Gray LLP requested the Supreme Court of the United States hear their case.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned lower court rulings that struck down state marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.  This was the first time a federal appeals court ruled against marriage equality after four other federal appeals courts upheld district court rulings that the bans are unconstitutional.

“The court of appeals’ holding not only denies recognition to petitioners’ own marriages and families, but also establishes a “checkerboard” nation in which same-sex couples’ marriages are dissolved and reestablished as they travel across the country,” the plaintiff couples stated in the request. “That is the antithesis of the stability that marriage is supposed to afford.”

Earlier today, Lambda Legal, the ACLU and private firm Gerhardstein & Branch also petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of certiorari, the formal request that the Court review its cases challenging Ohio’s constitutional ban on marriage equality.

Source: HRC Blog, “Tennessee Plaintiffs Appeal Sixth Circuit Ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court,” November 14, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media

Identity, Inc!

Please join in the celebration and fundraiser to open the new LGBTQ community center in Farmington, NM, tonight @ 7:00pm.

Identityincposter

Federal Judge Blocks Kansas’s Ban on Marriage Equality

BREAKING: With the stay lifted, same-sex couples in Kansas can begin applying for marriage licenses immediately. (November 12, 5:45 p.m. EST)

[On November 4, 2014], U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree issued a preliminary injunction in Marie v. Moser, ordering Kansas to stop enforcing its discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples.  Judge Crabtree granted the state’s request for a stay, so no marriages will begin until 5:00pm CST on November 11.

Kansas was the only remaining state within the jurisdiction of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled earlier this year that bans on marriage equality violate the U.S. Constitution.  Those rulings were allowed to stand when the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the cases on appeal, paving the way for marriage equality to become law in all states within the Tenth Circuit where marriage bans were still in effect – Colorado, Wyoming and now, Kansas.

“Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban does not differ in any meaningful respect from the Utah and Oklahoma laws the Tenth Circuit found unconstitutional,” Judge Crabtree writes.  “Because Tenth Circuit precedent is binding on this Court, Kitchen and Bishop dictate the result here.”

The state now has the option to appeal today’s order to the Tenth Circuit, which has already ruled such marriage bans unconstitutional.

With Kansas, 33 states will have marriage equality.  Congratulations to the plaintiff couples, the ACLU and all those working to secure marriage equality nationwide in America!

Source: HRC Blog, “Federal Judge Blocks Kansas’s Ban on Marriage Equality,” November 4, 2014 by Charlie Joughin