Ginsburg: Watch 6th Circuit on Gay Marriage

FILE - In this July 31, 2014 file photo is Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Supreme Court chambers in Washington. Ginsburg discusses the work of the court in an appearance Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 at the University of Minnesota Law School. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File) The Associated Press

FILE – In this July 31, 2014 file photo is Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Supreme Court chambers in Washington. Ginsburg discusses the work of the court in an appearance Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 at the University of Minnesota Law School. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File) The Associated Press

People seeking clues about how soon the Supreme Court might weigh in on states’ gay marriage bans should pay close attention to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a Minnesota audience Tuesday.

Ginsburg said cases pending before the circuit covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee would probably play a role in the high court’s timing. She said “there will be some urgency” if that appeals court allows same-sex marriage bans to stand. Such a decision would run contrary to a legal trend favoring gay marriage and force the Supreme Court to step in sooner, she predicted.

She said if the appeals panel falls in line with other rulings there is “no need for us to rush.”

Ginsburg didn’t get into the merits of any particular case or any state’s gay marriage ban, but she marveled at the “remarkable” shift in public perception of same-sex marriage that she attributes to gays and lesbians being more open about their relationships. Same-sex couples can legally wed in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts.

“Having people close to us who say who they are — that made the attitude change in this country,” Ginsburg said at the University of Minnesota Law School.

The Supreme Court returns from a summer recess in early October. Ginsburg wasn’t the only justice on the lecture circuit Tuesday; Justice Clarence Thomas was addressing a gathering in Texas.

Thomas, one of the court’s conservatives, expressed his firm belief in the strict construction of the Constitution during his appearance at the University of Texas at Tyler. As a judge, Thomas said, he’s “not into creative writing,” the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported.

And Thomas said he’s motivated by the belief that if the country “is not perfect, it is perfectible.”

Fifteen months ago, the high court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied a range of tax, health and veterans benefits to legally married gay couples. Rulings invalidating state gay marriage bans followed in quick succession.

Ginsburg spent 90 minutes before an audience of hundreds discussing her two decades on the Supreme Court as well as her days as an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. In a question-and-answer period, she predicted that cases dealing with the environment and technology would make for watershed decisions in years to come.

Privacy of information carried on smartphones in the context of criminal searches could be particularly big, Ginsburg said. “You can have on that cellphone more than you can pack in a file cabinet,” she said.

The liberal justice said the court is the most collegial place she has worked as she fondly described her close relationship with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. She made sure to plug a comic opera about the two of them — “Scalia/Ginsburg” — that will debut next year in Virginia.

And the 81-year-old Ginsburg elicited plenty of laughter by highlighting a Tumblr account about her called the “Notorious R.B.G.” and a never-realized dream job.

“If I had any talent God could give me, I would be a great diva,” she said.

Source: AP via ABCNews.com, “Ginsburg: Watch 6th Circuit on Gay Marriage,” MINNEAPOLIS — Sep 16, 2014, 11:26 PM ET
By BRIAN BAKST, Associated Press

AIDS Memorial Quilt Durango Display

AIDS Memorial Quilt setup yesterday. Very moving. Please join us for the traditional “Reading of the Names” tonight at 6:00 pm @ the Durango Public Library. The quilt will be on display September 16-20, 2014. To find out more about the AIDS Memorial Quilt/The Names Project Foundation and the 17th Annual Durango AIDS Awareness Benefit Family Fun Run/Walk and the Formal Dinner/Dance/Silent Auction, please click here. All donations and proceeds raised will benefit HIV/AIDS education, outreach and support programs in the Four Corners Region.

AIDS Memorial Quilt Durango Display, Sept. 16-20, 2014. Durango Public Library, Durango, CO

AIDS Memorial Quilt Durango Display, Sept. 16-20, 2014. Durango Public Library, Durango, CO

Attorney general race: Rivals differ on battle over gay marriage

Coffman, Quick seek post of state attorney general

Cynthia Coffman

Cynthia Coffman

Don Quick

Don Quick

Both Cynthia Coffman and Don Quick say their positions on how to handle gay-marriage court battles are in the best interest of same-sex couples who are seeking nuptials.

The two candidates for attorney general discussed gay marriage and other topics during recent, separate sit-down interviews with Colorado Community Media.

Coffman, a Republican deputy attorney general, and Quick, a Democrat and former Adams County district attorney, are locked in a key down-ticket race.

Coffman, who is married to U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, touts her experience in state government and knowledge of office operations as reasons for voters to support her candidacy.

For his part, Quick, a Wheat Ridge native, boasts of his record as Adams County DA, including his prosecution of government corruption among officials there.

The race is one of the most closely watched attorney general’s races in the country, with millions of campaign dollars having come in from outside donors.

But, all of that aside, the race could come down to gay marriage.

“There is no constitutional defense for treating gay and lesbian couples differently,” Quick said. “There are no second-class citizens.”

But Coffman said Quick’s personal feelings about gay marriage have nothing to do with the role the attorney general plays in this issue.

“I have a personal opinion about the issue, which I’m not going to share because to me, my personal opinion doesn’t matter,” she said.

Current Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican who is term-limited, has defended the state’s 2006 gay marriage ban in court battles that reached new heights over the summer.

In June, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals — which has jurisdiction over Colorado cases — ruled Utah’s gay marriage ban to be unconstitutional. However, the court stayed its decision, knowing that the case would ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

The court’s stay didn’t stop the county clerk in Boulder from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Shortly thereafter, a state district court judge in Adams County ruled in a separate case that Colorado’s gay marriage ban is also unconstitutional. That judge also issued a stay in the decision.

Despite calls from gay lawmakers and Gov. John Hickenlooper not to appeal the Adams County ruling, Suthers has taken the case to the Colorado Supreme Court.

And, along the way, Suthers has waged a court battle with the Boulder County Clerk’s Office in an effort to stop it from issuing more same-sex marriage licenses.

Most recently, Suthers led a group of 17 attorneys general asking the Supreme Court to take up arguments on same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

Suthers’ approach scrutinized

Critics have said Suthers is delaying the inevitability of gay marriage.

But Coffman believes her boss is doing the right thing — and that she would follow his path on his handling of this issue.

Coffman said Suthers’ recent filing with the Supreme Court will end up fast-tracking the case toward a quicker resolution.

When asked if one could make the argument that Suthers’ handling of the case is actually in the best interest of gay couples, because it could get the issue to the Supreme Court more quickly, Coffman said, “Yes, absolutely. I believe that.”

But Quick doesn’t see how continuing to fight against gay marriage in court is helping same-sex couples realize their dreams of marriage equality.

“I think for a large segment of society, not just gay and lesbian couples, but for people who have family members that are gay and lesbian couples,” it means they have to wait even longer, he said.

Quick dismisses arguments against gay marriage that have nothing to do with the Constitution, especially those that cite procreation as a reason to prevent gays from getting married.

“John Suthers hasn’t procreated in 30 years and I haven’t in over 20 years, but somehow I think our wives both think our marriages have value and they’re important,” Quick said.

But Coffman said that perhaps Quick doesn’t understand that the role of the Attorney General’s Office is to defend the state’s laws, regardless of whether he likes them.

“(U.S. Attorney General) Eric Holder has been the poster child of picking and choosing what laws to defend,” she said. “I think he has violated his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States by picking and choosing. And to me, what Don is suggesting is the same thing: `I’m going to decide what is constitutional or not.’”

Coffman said Quick forgets that Suthers took heat from conservative groups when his office filed a discrimination complaint against a Lakewood baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Suthers’ office also defended the state’s recent Democrat-sponsored gun-control laws in a court battle this year.

Quick has also been critical of Suthers for joining several other attorneys general in opposing the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate — the “Hobby Lobby” case that succeeded at the Supreme Court.

Quick said he “strongly believes that a woman should make her health care decisions.” But Coffman finds those arguments offensive.

“We have birth control available to women, abortion is available, and to consistently try to be deceptive and inflame women on those issues, I just think it’s politics. It’s irresponsible,” Coffman said.

But Quick thinks that Coffman is the one who doesn’t have a grip on what the job of attorney general is all about. He believes that an attorney general has a duty to challenge a law if he or she “has grave doubts about constitutionality of the law.”

“I’ll defend laws whether I agree or disagree, but if there is an intentional targeting of a group denying them a fundamental right, then I will not defend that law,” he said.

Source: Colorado Community Media: Election 2014, “Attorney general race: Rivals differ on battle over gay marriage,” by Vic Vela, Posted 9/15/2014

#AskForHelp

Whatever it is, Ask for Help.

That’s the message of The Trevor Project’s new PSA campaign. Too often, we’re afraid to ask for help when we really need it. After all, asking for help isn’t always easy. Figuring out where to start or who to turn to can be overwhelming and we may not want to bother anyone with our worries or fears.

But the truth about asking for help is that no problem is too big or too small. There are helpers everywhere – parents, teachers, adults, counselors, neighbors, religious leaders and Trevor counselors – who are there to listen when you need support. Asking for help may be scary, but it’s also one of the bravest things you can do.

Ask for Help – It’s the first step to getting the support you need. Are you ready to ask for help? Contact The Trevor Project to talk with a trained counselor.

#AskForHelp

September 10, 2014 is World Suicide Prevention Day

Source: The Trevor Project, “Ask For Help”

 

Comprehensive Look at Marriage Litigation Underway in the States

In states across the country, same-sex couples are filing lawsuits seeking the freedom to marry. Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to win a final victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. While we work to create the climate for the Court to rule in favor of marriage, here is a comprehensive look at marriage litigation underway in the states:

NUMBER OF CASES: RULINGS SINCE WINDSOR: SEEKING SCOTUS REVIEW:
79 CASES IN 32 STATES 39 WINS 3 CASES

KEY UPCOMING DATES:

9/8 Oral Arguments at the 9th Circuit (ID & NV) 10/10 Oral Arguments in Hamby v. Parnell  (AK)

MARRIAGE CASES AT THE FEDERAL APPELLATE LEVEL

  • 10TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit covers 6 states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah & Wyoming.Read More >

  • 11TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit covers three states: Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Read More >

  • 4TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit covers five states: Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, & West Virginia.Read More >

  • 5TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit covers three states: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Read More >

  • 6TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit covers 4 states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Read More >

  • 7TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit covers three states: Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Read More >

  • 9TH CIRCUIT COURT

    Marriage at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

    The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit covers nine states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Read More >

MARRIAGE CASES WITH RULINGS IN STATE COURT

  • ARKANSAS

    Litigation in Arkansas

    BIG WIN! On 5/9, a circuit judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex couples from marrying! A separate federal case has also been filed. Read More >

  • COLORADO

    Litigation in Colorado

    Two separate RULINGS have been issued striking down anti-marriage laws in Colorado Read More >

  • FLORIDA

    Litigation in Florida

    Five rulings from Florida judges have found the state’s law banning same-sex couples from marriage unconstitutional! Read More >

ALL STATES WITH PENDING MARRIAGE LITIGATION

  • ALABAMA

    Litigation in Alabama

    Four lawsuits have been filed on behalf of same-sex couples seeking respect for marriages legally performed in other states.Read More >

  • ALASKA

    Litigation in Alaska

    Private lawyers have filed a federal lawsuit in Alaska seeking the freedom to marry and respect for out-of-state marriages.Read More >

  • ARIZONA

    Litigation in Arizona

    Two federal lawsuits are currently pending in Arizona seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples or respect for out-of-state marriages. Read More >

  • ARKANSAS

    Litigation in Arkansas

    BIG WIN! On 5/9, a circuit judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex couples from marrying! A separate federal case has also been filed. Read More >

  • COLORADO

    Litigation in Colorado

    Two separate RULINGS have been issued striking down anti-marriage laws in Colorado Read More >

  • FLORIDA

    Litigation in Florida

    Five rulings from Florida judges have found the state’s law banning same-sex couples from marriage unconstitutional! Read More >

  • GEORGIA

    Litigation in Georgia

    Lambda Legal has filed a federal lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry in Georgia and respect for marriages legally performed elsewhere. Read More >

  • IDAHO

    Litigation in Idaho

    A RULING from a federal judge struck down anti-marriage laws in Idaho! Read More >

  • INDIANA

    Litigation in Indiana

    A RULING has been issued striking down anti-marriage laws in Indiana!Read More >

  • KANSAS

    Litigation in Kansas

    Private lawyers have filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of two same-sex couples in Kansas seeking respect for their out-of-state marriage for the purpose of filing taxes jointly. Read More >

  • KENTUCKY

    Litigation in Kentucky

    A RULING in a federal lawsuit has struck down Kentucky’s anti-marriage ban. Read More >

  • LOUISIANA

    Litigation in Louisiana

    Two federal lawsuits and one state lawsuit on behalf of same-sex couple seeking legal respect for their out-of-state marriages are pending in Louisiana. Read More >

  • MICHIGAN

    Litigation in Michigan

    On March 21, a judge ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Michigan! The ruling is being appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and a separate suit seeks respect for 300 marriage licenses issued by the state. Read More >

  • MISSISSIPPI

    Litigation in Mississippi

    Private lawyers have filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of couples seeking recognition of their marriage in Mississippi. Read More >

  • MISSOURI

    Litigation in Missouri

    The ACLU has filed a state lawsuit on behalf of 8 same-sex couples seeking respect for their legal marriages in Missouri. Read More >

  • MONTANA

    Litigation in Montana

    The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit in Montana seeking the freedom to marry and respect for out-of-state marriages. Read More >

  • NEBRASKA

    Litigation in Nebraska

    Private lawyers have filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of a couple seeking recognition for their marriage in Nebraska. Read More >

  • NEVADA

    Litigation in Nevada

    The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a federal lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry for 8 same-sex couples in Nevada. Read More >

  • NORTH CAROLINA

    Litigation in North Carolina

    Three federal lawsuits lawsuits seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples are currently pending in North Carolina.Read More >

  • NORTH DAKOTA

    Litigation in North Dakota

    Private counsel and Lambda Legal have filed federal lawsuits in ND seeking the freedom to marry and respect for out-of-state marriages.Read More >

  • OHIO

    Litigation in Ohio

    Two RULINGS in federal lawsuits have declared that Ohio must respect out-of-state marriages. A separate lawsuit has been filed in state court seeking the freedom to marry. Read More >

  • OKLAHOMA

    Litigation in Oklahoma

    A RULING in a federal lawsuit, affirmed by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, declared OK’s marriage ban unconstitutional! Defendants will seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court. Read More >

  • PUERTO RICO

    Litigation in Puerto Rico

    A federal lawsuit filed in Puerto Rico seeks respect for a same-sex couple’s marriage license where they live. Read More >

  • SOUTH CAROLINA

    Litigation in South Carolina

    Private lawyers have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a same-sex couple seeking the freedom to marry in SC. Read More >

  • SOUTH DAKOTA

    Litigation in South Dakota

    Private counsel has filed a federal lawsuit in South Dakota seeking the freedom to marry and respect for out-of-state marriages.Read More >

  • TENNESSEE

    Litigation in Tennessee

    A federal judge has ruled in favor of respecting the marriages of three Tennessee couples. A separate judge has upheld the marriage ban.Read More >

  • TEXAS

    Litigation in Texas

    A RULING in a federal lawsuit declared that anti-marriage laws in Texas are unconstitutional. Other cases are also currently pending, including 2 marriage cases and 2 divorce cases. Read More >

  • UTAH

    Litigation in Utah

    A challenge to Utah’s ban on same-sex couples marrying will now be heard by the 10th District Court of Appeals. Another seeks recognition for 1,000+ married couples.Read More >

  • VIRGINIA

    Litigation in Virginia

    A RULING in a federal lawsuit, affirmed by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, declared VA’s marriage ban unconstitutional! Defendants will seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court. Read More >

  • WEST VIRGINIA

    Litigation in West Virginia

    Lambda Legal and Fairness West Virginia have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of couples seeking the freedom to marry in WV.Read More >

  • WISCONSIN

    Litigation in Wisconsin

    A RULING in a federal lawsuit declared that WI’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional! Read More >

  • WYOMING

    Litigation in Wyoming

    The NCLR has filed a state lawsuit on behalf of 4 same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality seeking marriage or respect for out-of-state marriages in Wyoming.Read More >

STATES WITH COMPLETED MARRIAGE LITIGATION

  • HAWAII

    Litigation in Hawaii

    VICTORY: In November 2013, the Hawaii legislature passed a bill extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the state.Read More >

  • ILLINOIS

    Litigation in Illinois

    VICTORY: In February 2014, a federal judge struck down laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying, saying they should not have to wait until June, when the marriage law was scheduled to take effect. Read More >

  • NEW JERSEY

    Litigation in New Jersey

    VICTORY: In October 2013, Lambda Legal’s state lawsuit in the New Jersey Superior Court found that civil union is a lesser and unequal family status from marriage.Read More >

  • NEW MEXICO

    Litigation in New Mexico

    VICTORY: On December 19, 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed that the New Mexico state constitution requires that same-sex couples are granted the freedom to marry. Read More >

  • OREGON

    Litigation in Oregon

    VICTORY: On May 19, same-sex couples in Oregon won the freedom to marry! Read More >

  • PENNSYLVANIA

    Litigation in Pennsylvania

    VICTORY: On May 20, a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Read More >

 

Source: Freedom to Marry, “Marriage Litigation”