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As you can see, the map above gives us the states in which we have attained a favorable marriage equality ruling since the Windsor decision in June, 2013. It looks pretty impressive, don't you think?

We have news this week from the Seventh Circuit, Wyoming, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Go with me below the fold for details on these developments.

But first, Federal District Court Judge Heyburn ruled Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional this week. He struck down Kentucky's ban on out of state same-sex marriages in February. This ruling requires Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages entered into in Kentucky. The ruling has been stayed pending appeal. You can read more about the decision here.

The Seventh Circuit has expedited the briefing of the Indiana marriage equality cases. Briefing should be completed by August 5. They have also requested a response from Indiana with regard to Lambda Legal's motion to have the stay lifted for a lesbian couple in Indiana. One of the ladies is terminally ill, hence the motion to lift the stay.

And, the Seventh Circuit granted the motion. My diary on this order is here.


In Wyoming, the plaintiffs (NCLR) have filed for summary judgment in that marriage equality case in state court.

From NCLR:

Today, the plaintiffs challenging the State of Wyoming’s refusal to permit same-sex couples to marry asked a state district court to declare that the state’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. The four couples and Equality Wyoming filed a motion asking the court to rule that Wyoming’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Wyoming Constitution. No hearing has yet been scheduled for the court to consider the couples’ request.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit challenging Wyoming’s marriage ban on March 5, 2014.  The couples include a university professor, a Major in the Army Reserve, a sheepherder, and an attorney. Many of them were born and raised in Wyoming.

The couples are Cora Courage and Wyoma “Nonie” Proffit of Evanston, Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston of Casper, Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson of Laramie, and Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion of Cheyenne. Wyoming Equality is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Wyoming’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Its members include same-sex couples throughout the state.

The four couples and Wyoming Equality are represented by Cheyenne attorney Tracy Zubrod, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, the law firm of Rathod Mohamedbahi LLC, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).


Things are heating up in Colorado as well. The Boulder County Clerk has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since the Tenth Circuit ruling, and Colorado's AG is not happy about it at all. There are marriage equality lawsuits in state and federal court in the state. The Governor has asked that the (federal) court rule against Colorado's same-sex marriage amendment and stay the decision till the SCOTUS rules on marriage equality.

From kdvr.com:

While [AG] Suthers acted in coordination with Gov. John Hickenlooper asking for a delay in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until a Supreme Court decision, it did reveal a split in each party’s thinking.

According to the filing, Suthers, a Republican, believes the ruling by the 10th Circuit of Appeals was “incorrect.”

Allowing same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses before a Supreme Court decision “would invite a race to the clerks’ office, result in irreparable injury to the State, licenses issued under a legal cloud of uncertainty, and undermine the predictable and standard judicial process for testing the constitutionality of state laws,” the motion said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Denver County Clerk and Recorder both went on the record in the motion saying they agree with the 10th Circuit’s ruling. Denver is part of a state court case and the clerk and recorder’s office says if the state judge “finds that Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and issues his decision without a stay, (which Denver supports), we will issue marriage licenses until it is.”

“Today, we joined with the Attorney General and the county clerks in Denver and Jefferson counties to ask the federal district court in Colorado to declare the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and to stay its ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court addresses this issue,” said Eric Brown, a spokesman for Hickenlooper.

“We understand there is frustration with the lengthy judicial process, but waiting until the legal process is finished will ensure that marriage licenses issued to same sex couples are not clouded by uncertainty. We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will take this matter up quickly. Equality for everyone can’t come soon enough,” Brown said.

“We are pleased to see a bipartisan group of elected officials coming together to overturn Colorado’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, an advocacy group for the LGBT community.

“The Governor, Attorney General, Jefferson County Clerk, and Denver Clerk have said in one bipartisan voice that they will not defend this discriminatory ban that hurts real Colorado families every day. However, we’re disappointed they’re not seeking to end it immediately. Colorado families deserve to have their freedom, liberty and protections without delay,” Montez said in a statement.

Tuesday, six couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban.

The couples are suing the state saying the ban is unconstitutional.

That ruling was the justification the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder used to start issuing same-sex marriage licenses there.

Suthers has said the licenses issued by the Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall are not valid and gave a deadline of Tuesday at noon for her office to stop issuing them. Suthers threatened legal action if Hall did not comply.

Hall has said she would continue issuing the licenses despite Suther’s threat.

Hall started issuing the licenses June 25. Suthers said the licenses are invalid because the 10th Circuit issued a stay on its own ruling.

It’s not yet clear how the motion filed Wednesday will affect Hall’s decision to issue marriage licenses.

Couples have been lining up at clerk’s offices in Boulder County to receive licenses despite their legal uncertainty.   As of Wednesday evening, a total of 97 marriage licenses had been issued to same-sex couples.

Unlike the other case challenging Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban, the case filed Tuesday was in federal court. A ruling would apply to every county.

David Lane, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said that a decision by a federal judge enabling gay marriage in Colorado could come within a month.

And, in Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit has dismissed the appeal by the county clerk who sought to intervene and appeal the marriage equality lawsuit in that state.

Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 9:59 AM PT: The Pennsylvania County Clerk has appealed to SCOTUS and asked for a stay of the marriage equality ruling. Justice Alito receives Third Circuit requests, but will probably present it to the entire court.

Originally posted to librarisingnsf on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 10:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I had been getting increasingly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf, afisher, slksfca

    optimistic that we could look forward to a SCOTUS decision that would clearly establish marriage equality as a national right. I also saw a news story about Ted Olson making a prediction to that effect.

    After the past week at the court, I am feeling less optimistic. It seems to be degenerating into an ideological bar brawl. The chances of a vacancy during the remainder of Obama's term doesn't look promising. When all of these positive lower court decisions work their way up to SCOTUS they are likely to be at the mercy of the present majority.    

    •  Justice Kennedy on LGBT rights: (2+ / 0-)

      You can get married and have all the rights, but you can be discriminated against because Jeebus.

      "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 11:01:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I could be wrong, but I think that Kennedy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, slksfca, bythesea

      will stick with us on marriage equality, which will give us the five votes we need for that. He has not ruled against gay rights ... ever, I don't think. What I am concerned about are these religious exemptions that the religious right is clamoring for.

      •  After yesterday's blow up (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        librarisingnsf, slksfca

        it looks like battle lines are being drawn. That would put more pressure on Kennedy to support the right wing. He does that more often than not.

        I have been trying to follow the freedom of conscience claims that the RR has been making about matters in relation to LGBT rights and their constitutional implications. Hobby Lobby definitely has implications for that. It is an issue that is not going to go away anytime soon.

    •  Asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf, bythesea

      Are you kidding?

      Not only am I increasingly confident, I would bet my life that the past year is precisely what the SCOTUS was counting on when they invalidated the DOMA provision they axed.

      That, combined with their decision establishing consensual sex acts as outside the purview of the court (remember Scalia complained that this would open the door to gay marriage) convinces me that this is precisely the legal scenario the justices crafted to lead to a measured and gradual outcome based on widespread case law, and not a cold-shock immersion that a sudden unexpected decision would bring.

      I predict a 5-4 or possibly 6-3 final decision on full marriage equality sometime in 2015.

      The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

      by GayIthacan on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 11:42:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Predict what you want to, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        librarisingnsf

        the court has presented itself as being very unpredictable. Yesterday's order on Wheaton College raises serious concerns about their approach in the future. I suggest that you look at Sotomayer's dissent.

        •  Asdf (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          librarisingnsf, bythesea

          Perhaps unpredictable on the occasional complex issue, but their trajectory on this issue has been clear - and consistent.

          There is no chance kennedy will come down on the wrong side of history on this issue. And I think Roberts might even succumb to the pressures of the past decade.

          The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

          by GayIthacan on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:56:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think this is an accurate (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            librarisingnsf, Tennessee Dave

            reflection of the judicial record.

            Perhaps unpredictable on the occasional complex issue, but their trajectory on this issue has been clear - and consistent.
            In both Perry and Windsor they made the narrowest possible rulings in what looks to me like an obvious more to keep their options open.
            •  Asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tennessee Dave

              But you see, that is my entire point.

              They threw their sabots into those gears which would not wreck the machine in one fell swoop, but which they knew would lead to the slow disintegration of the machine over time

              In other words, they wanted the process to be gradual and to come when public opinion had turned - and they seem to have planned it perfectly. And they can still claim their conservative credentials.

              At least that is how I and several legal scholars read it.

              The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

              by GayIthacan on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 11:08:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent weekly review (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf, gizmo59, slksfca, bythesea

    I think maybe we should develop a weekly diary on this which can run until we have marriage equality nationally. Friday, early afternoon in the East and late morning in the West feels like the right time for it too.

    You won't have to write all of them yourself, either, unless you really want to.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 10:56:36 AM PDT

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