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In this morning's entry at EqualityOnTrial.com, I found this link.

One state legislator is already thinking about making a distinction between same-sex marriages and other marriages in adoption cases. Rep. Kraig Powell Monday raised the question of the parental rights of a biological father when the mother is in a same-sex marriage, and he brought up the term "pairage" as a possible way to distinguish between the same-sex and opposite-sex marriage.
I really don't know what Mr. Powell is thinking. Having disposed of civil unions and domestic partnerships, not to mention "separate but equal" in terms of access to education, does he think this will lead to anything other than a new and successful legal challenge? Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility--or at least that's what I thought. How does guaranteeing a long and expensive court battle over an issue that has already been settled possibly comport with that?
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Haven't seen any one diary this yet so here we go.

Yet again a state judge in a very red state has ruled in favor of marriage equality.

More beneath the squiggle.

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Another of those, "hasn't anyone already diaried this?" pieces that I myself only just caught wind of. Into the looking glass you may be thinking, because after all the Catholic Church does not approve of divorce. But wouldn't you know there'd be a wrinkle? The couple in question consists of two gay men.

Details below the squiggle.

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Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM PDT

The Week in Marriage Equality

by sfbob

This diary represents an ongoing attempt by those of us here with an interest in the subject to review the week that was with respect to activity on the front of marriage equality.

And what a week it has been. Scroll past the break and let's see what this week has brought us.

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Another one of those "didn't see anyone else do a diary about it so I suppose it's up to me items."

Reuters is reporting that a suit has been filed against Little Caesar's Pizza and their parent company, Ilitch Enterprises (which also owns the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings). The suit was brought by Frank Bernard, a former employee, a gay man who was and is legally married in the State of California, because the company refused to extend health insurance benefits to his spouse. The couple was married during the initial window of opportunity prior to the passage of Prop 8 and accuses the defendants of discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

The interesting part is this:

[The suit] cites a letter Little Caesars presented Bernard explaining a benefits policy that defined "spouse" as "the one person to whom you are legally married under the laws of the state in which you reside, including common law spouse, and who is the opposite gender from you."

The company has a corporate presence in California as their regional headquarters is located in Orange County, which means they have to comply with state employment law. I can't see the case taking very long to resolve as it is a manifest violation of state law. California's anti-discrimination laws are among the most robust in the nation. Unlike federal anti-discrimination statutes they cover both sexual orientation and gender identity. I don't know how anyone might react to this but I'm rather shocked that the company would actually put the above in writing. Little Caesar's may want to fire their corporate attorneys due to gross incompetence.

Meanwhile, while I'm not inclined to patronize chain pizza stores to begin with (the stand-alones and the locals invariably make better pizza or else they disappear), if I needed an additional reason to stay away from Little Caesar's this one would work well for me. I guess I won't be rooting for the Tigers or Red Wings either.

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Ran across this one on a couple of different sites today, including at The New Civil Rights Movement. I was actually hoping someone else would post a diary about it. But nobody's yet come forward so I suppose the task falls on me.

It seems that "Pastor" Michael Wilson (he seems to preside mainly over a YouTube channel) is advocating for an amendment to the US Constitution with three parts to it:

1. The United States is a Christian nation with Judeo-Christian ethics, morals, principles and values.
2. The practice of homosexuality in the United States of America and all its territories and possessions, and in all its States, Counties and Cities shall be a felony punishable by ten years in prison at hard labor.
3. This amendment shall take effect the first Sunday after ratification.
Of course there is zero chance, at least currently, that such an amendment would make it through both Houses of Congress or that enough states would ratify it to place it in effect. Still, it's never the wrong time to call out hate when it appears.

One thing that strikes me as interesting is that while Section 1 of the proposed amendment claims we have "Judeo-Christian ethics, morals, principles and values," given the wording of Section 3, the "Judeo-" part is clearly being given short shrift.

And then of course there's the historical revisionism of declaring the US to be a "Christian nation" which of course to people like Wilson means it adheres to his particular version of theology. Only it isn't and it doesn't. And I hope it never does.

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With all the horrible news lately it's good to read something uplifting and inspiring, courtesy of ABC's local affiliate in the Akron/Canton area by way of Joe.My.God.

"My doctor told me two years straight I'm as healthy as a healthy 20-year-old. Hooray!" Keeling said prior to her race. Her coach and daughter, Shelley Kelling, reminded Ida to stay in her lane and focus on the finish line. When the starter fired his pistol, the crowd immediately began cheering for the senior citizen from New York City and the clapping and whistling didn't stop until she finished, with a time of 59.80 seconds. She came in last place, but that didn't matter to anyone, including Ida. "I feel I'm still a winner," she said. Shelley Kelling said no woman at her mother's age has ever recorded a faster time in an internationally certified 100-meter race. "She does not only inspire people that are young or that are out here. It's a message that you can do this at any age," Shelley added.
The article does not indicate whether Ida is gay or straight--not that it matters. My assumption is that her daughter, also a Gay Games participant, is a lesbian but there again...who knows and who cares? I've competed in the Gay Games (Sydney; 2002; cycling. I didn't win but I had fun.). No proof of sexual orientation is required.

Meanwhile the full article is worth a read. Please note that it includes a video.

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Back in June when the Tenth Circuit Court of appeals upheld the district court's ruling that Utah's ban on marriage equality, the state's attorney general announced his intention to skip an en banc hearing a file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. Requests for cert must generally be filed within 90 days of issuance of the decision under appeal so it is a bit surprising that the state would move so quickly.

It being Utah, the state's argument is of course more than a bit disingenuous.

"...the Tenth Circuit held that there is a fundamental right to marry someone of the same sex."
Setting aside the grammatical infelicity of that statement, that is of course NOT what the Tenth Circuit held. The court didn't find a new right; it held that a law which prohibited a person from marrying the person of their choice, regardless of the gender of the persons involved, is unconstitutional just as it would be to prevent a person of one race from marrying a person of a different race.

Though to give them their due, I have to agree with this:

"It comes down to this: [either] thousands of couples are being unconstitutionally denied the right to marry or millions of voters are being disenfranchised of their vote to define marriage. Either way the Court's review is necessary and this case is the right vehicle to do so."
Based on Supreme Court rules my understanding is that opposition and amici briefs will be due on September 4 with a reply brief due on September 14. This means it will be ready to be considered at conference on October 10.
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This is my first time authoring a diary in what has become an ongoing series. As it's my initial outing, I hope you all will be generous in your praise and constructive in your criticisms.

Things are moving quickly and it's very difficult to keep track of all of the different cases (I believe there are more than 70 nationwide). In fact the folks at Wikipedia are having trouble keeping their marriage equality case maps up to date which gives me a perfect excuse not to post one here.

It did turn out to be quite the big week, thanks to Monday morning's widely-anticipated ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Bostic vs Rainey Schaefer, a case originally decided in district court in Virginia. While the court has upheld the lower court's ruling striking down the state ban, it has not yet issued a mandate which means the ruling has not yet been stayed but is also not yet in effect.

As a result of Court of Appeals ruling North Carolina's Attorney General (a Democrat) has stated he will not continue to defend that law's marriage equality ban in court. Since there are currently three cases pending in district courts in North Carolina contesting the constitutionality of that state's marriage equality ban, and North Carolina is in the Fourth Circuit, the court has requested the parties file briefs addressing the impact of Bostic vs Schaefer on their cases. Meanwhile in South Carolina (another Fourth Circuit state), that state's Attorney General (a Republican) will continue to defend HIS state's marriage equality ban.

Colorado's Attorney General meanwhile has FINALLY been able to get the state's Supreme Court to enjoin the Boulder County Clerk from continuing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The state's marriage equality ban is already likely to fall as a result of the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rulings striking marriage equality bans in Utah and Oklahoma; in addition there are both federal district court challenges proceeding in Colorado as well as a state district court ruling which found the state's ban to be unconstitutional.

Wyoming is also in the Tenth District; there is currently a state court level challenge to Wyoming's statutory-only marriage equality ban. This week Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell refused to to stay proceedings in that case and announced he will issue a decision in November either ruling in the case on the spot or else letting it proceed to trial.

There are other pending cases in virtually every state that doesn't already have marriage equality. Six different cases from four states in the Sixth Circuit will be heard at the same time next Wednesday. In one of those cases, Kentucky filed its final brief in Love vs Beshear yesterday. Covering that entire set of cases should be quite the undertaking.

In the Fifth District, the state has filed the initial brief in their appeal of the lower court ruling in DeLeon vs Perry which (no surprise) struck down Texas' marriage equality ban.

One thing I have at last figured out is that since briefs generally include a table of contents, one can get a good sense of what's at stake simply by reading that table of contents. It certainly saves time and (in the case of the states' arguments) lowers the risk of having your blood pressure rise to unacceptable levels or having your eyes roll uncontrollably. The plaintiffs' briefs off course make for enjoyable reading since they tend to be on-point and well-written.

Something was filed in one of two pending marriage equality cases in Arizona this week; I read it earlier in the week but now can't seem to find it. Arizona is in the Ninth District. The Ninth District is diverse in that, although there is marriage equality in four states within the circuit (Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii) there are also some very intransigent states, including Arizona and Alaska.

It was reported just a while ago (after lunch where I sit in San Francisco) that the plaintiffs in Florida's two state level marriage equality cases are planning to request their cases be combined. State district court judges in two adjoining counties, Monroe and Miami-Dade, recently issued rulings striking Florida's marriage equality ban which the state's Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately appealed.

Finally the Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday unanimously ruled in Appling vs Walker that that state's domestic partnership regime doesn't violate the state's marriage equality ban, ironically because it offers rights so much more limited than those which come with marriage.

If you're interested, SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston has published a piece in Constitution Daily highlighting one of the points of departure between supporters of marriage equality and the states that are continuing to contest lower court decisions. The pertinent question is whether these cases are attempting to assert a new right (the "right to same-sex marriage") as the states contend or whether instead the right in question is nothing other than the right to marry, as our side argues (correctly in my humble opinion).

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Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM PDT

How I came to be an "Out Gay Man"

by sfbob

A few weeks ago, while I was away on AIDS/LifeCycle and therefore off the net, my esteemed fellow-Kossack commonmass posted his coming out story as a diary and encouraged others in our community to follow suit. Some published theirs as comments while others wrote their own diaries.

My response to the invitation follows beyond the Orange Squiggle.

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Just happened upon this a moment ago.

It sounds dull and boring right? Well it isn't. I'll explain why over the fold...with a bit of elaboration on the original text at the end.

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First off, per Joe.My.God, marriage equality will be coming to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as of this coming January 1.

Secondly, Bloomberg News is reporting that Judge John E. Jones, who overturned the decision striking Pennsylvania's marriage equality appeal has now issued an opinion denying the request of Schuylkill County Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphan's Court Theresa Santai-Gaffney to intervene in the case following Governor Corbett's decision not to appeal the ruling.

I don't have a specific link for the Luxembourg news but here is Judge Jones' opinion. He's pretty darned blunt about it. He notes that, as the result of another county clerk's attempt to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, the state courts determined that the duties of those who occupy that position are strictly ministerial, that is, they must issue a license to any couple meeting the state's requirements and not rule independently on who is or is not entitled to marry. He rebuts Santai-Gaffney's claim that Corbett's decision not to appeal and the state's subsequent issuance of instructions to commence issuing marriage licenses to couples "without regard to the gender of the applicants" render her duties unclear. To quote Jones:

Nothing could be further from the truth.

(snip)

Our decision was entirely unequivocal, as was the Governor's decision not to appeal.

(snip)

There is simply no unclarity in the current status of the laws governing the issuance of marriages licenses in Pennsylvania and Santai-Gaffney can claim no confusion. This specious argument is rejected.

Snip, and, by the way, SNAP.

And finally, having apparently crawled out from under some sort of rock where he'd been hiding since 1971, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackely has filed a motion to dismiss a marriage equality suit in that state, citing Baker vs Nelson and other pre-Windsor rulings as precedent. I wish him good luck on that.

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