Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2014-MAR: Accelerating steps towards
marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage"
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
See also the previous essay describing events during 2013-FEB
2014-MAR-01: USA: Current status of SSM (same-sex marriage):
- Same-sex couples can marry in 17 states and the District of Columbia. About 40% of the U.S. population lives in one of these jurisdictions.
- Same-sex couples can marry where permitted, and have their marriages recognized in Oregon.
Federal District Courts in 5 states (Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia) have issued rulings legalizing SSM. All have been stayed pending appeals to various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal.
- About a dozen lawsuits are active in other states, in which multiple plaintiffs who are either married and seek to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in their home state, or they are unmarried and want to be able to marry in their home state.
- Same-sex couples can marry in 17 other countries, and in some states of Mexico.
During late 2014-FEB, District Judge John G. Heyburn II issued his ruling in the case Bourke v. Beshear. It requires Kentucky to recognize valid same-sex marriages solemnized out of state. Judge Heyburn granted a request by the Attorney General for a stay to allow time for him to decide whether to appeal the decision. If he elects to not appeal, he will need some time to communicate instructions to the county clerks. More details. Reactions. Judge Heyburn will shortly hold hearings on whether Kentucky should also be required to marry same-sex couples within its borders.
2014-MAR-04: A group of Republicans from the midwest support SSM:
Twenty Republicans from western states -- including former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, and U.S. Senators Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas -- filed a brief with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the court to which District Court rulings which legalized SSM in Oklahoma and Utah are being appealed. They quoted a statement by the late Senator Barry Goldwater who wrote:
"We don‚t seek to lead anyone‚s life for them."
The brief, written by lawyer Sean Gallagher from Denver, said in part:
"It is precisely because marriage is not [sic] important in producing and protecting strong and stable family structures that (we) do not agree that the government can rationally promote the goal of strengthening families by denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.": 1
We suspect that the first "not" is a typo.
2014-MAR-04: Arizona: Public Policy Polling conducted a poll among Arizona voters. The findings included strong opposition to the anti-LGBT "License to Discriminate" bill, strong support for Governor Brewer's veto of the bill, and an 8 percentage point plurality in favor of the leglalizaton of same-sex marriage in the conservative state. More details.
2014-MAR-07: Indiana: Four same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit in federal District Court: two want their out-of-state marriage recognized; the other two are unmarried and want to marry in their home state. This is the sixth lawsuit in six states that have been decided or have been filed in various states' District Courts since 2013-DEC-20. More details.
2014-MAR-14: Tennessee: District Court Judge Aleta Trauger issued a temporary injunction requiring the state of Tennessee to recognize the out-of-state marriages of three same-sex couples pending her future ruling in the case Tanco v. Tennessee. 3
2014-MAR-14: Kentucky: Judge Heyburn's ruling in Love vs. Beshear has been appealed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Attorney General refused to appeal the case, so the Governor hired an outside lawyer file an appeal. More details.
2014-MAR-14: USA: According to Bloomberg News:
"Insurers participating in Obamacare must cover same-sex married couples as families, the U.S. government said. ..."
"The Obama administration is seeking to maximize insurance coverage ahead of a March 31 deadline to sign up for private plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare. The government has regularly adjusted the law‚s rules. ... The decisions on married gay couples and the high-risk patient group are the latest such changes."
" 'Insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage,' Matthew Heinz, the director of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender outreach at HHS, said today in a blog post. 'This will further enhance access to health care for all Americans, including those with same-sex spouses'." 5
This is a major benefit for same-sex couples, but only if they are married. It will significantly increase benefits and protections to same-sex couples who are married and deny them to same-sex couples who are not married. That will place additional pressure in the 33 states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry, and give greater credibility to claims that denying marriage to such couples violates the equal access and protection clauses of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
2014-MAR-16: Massachusetts: There has been a conflict between the organizers of St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston, MA. LGBT veterans want to march as part of the veteran contingent and display their rainbow flag. The police, firefighters, and the Irish themselves will be marching behind their flag. The parade organizers were willing to accept LGBT marchers, but not if they bring their flag. Still, there was a small step forwards: a diversity float will be part of this year's parade.
Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh issued a statement saying that he would not participate in the parade. He said:
"The St. Patrick‚s Day parade was born out of the celebration of Evacuation Day, a day set aside to recognize and honor our military and those brave Americans who have banded together for the sake of freedom. And so much of our Irish history has been shaped by the fight against oppression.¬
I‚m disappointed that this year, I will be unable to participate in the parade. As mayor of the city of Boston, I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city. Unfortunately, this year, the parties were not able to come to an understanding that would have made that possible. ..." 2
2014-MAR-16: Massachusetts: The Rainbow Times is conducting a poll to get the response of visitors to their web site about what they think is the most crucial issue facing the LGBT community. They give 4 options. So far, answers are:
- Homelessness: 34%
- Transgender protections: 31%
- Same-sex marriage: 35%
People of Color and racism: 11% 2
Youth homelessness is a serious problem among the LGBT community. In Salt Lake City, Utah, over 40% of youths who are homeless are LGBT. In other cities across the U.S. it is not much lower. They appear to have been thrown out of their home by their parents, or to have experienced an intolerable situation at home and decided that their only option was to leave.
2014-MAR-21: Michigan: Federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman published his ruling in the DeBoer v. Snyder
lawsuit. He determined, as did five District Court judges since late 2013-DEC, that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution conflicts with the amendment to the state Constitution which bans SSMs. Thus the amendment to the state Constitution is void and unenforceable. A number of same-sex couples in the state were able to marry before the Attorney General successfully obtained a stay from the 6th U.S. Circuilt Court of Appeals. More details.
2014-MAR-24: World: World Vision is a very large evangelical Christian world relief organization with about a thousand employees. Their employee conduct manual requires all of its employees to restrict their sexual activity to "abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage." In the past, they had always refused to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex marriages, and refused to hire potential lesbian, gay and bisexual employees who were married to a same-sex spouse. World Vision decided on Monday, MAR-24 to recognizes employees married to same-sex spouses as falling within the requirements of their conduct manual. Almost instantly, they were buried under a mass of criticism from fellow evangelicals. Two days later, on Wednesday, MAR-26, they reverted to their original discriminatory rules. More details.
End of 2013: Which are the "best" countries to live in? The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has created a "Better Life Index" in which it rates its member countries for quality of life. Ratings are from 0 to 10, with England and Iceland tied at 7.56 for the highest rating, and Turkey the lowest at 2.71. Of the top ten countries, 7 have already legalized marriage for same-sex couples. 4 The three holdouts among the top ten countries are:
- Australia whose government is actively debating the matter.
- Switzerland which only provides registered partnerships. SSMs are being actively debated and a 2013-MAY poll showed 63% support for SSM among Swiss adults.
- The United States which is currently 33% of the way towards -- and perhaps one U.S. Supreme Court decision away from -- having marriage available for all same-sex couples.
Events expected in the future:
Various states: Bills have been introduced into the Legislatures of many states to give store owners the right to refuse to provide goods and/or services to same-sex couples who are getting married. Religious and social conservatives describe them as religious liberty bills that give store owners the religious freedom to follow their personal faith beliefs. Religious and social liberals describe them as "license to discriminate" bills. Meanwhile, nobody seem to notice -- or care -- that to discriminate against a person is a violation of the Golden Rule. More info.
2014-NOV: Oregon: It appears as if Oregon will be the only state where a vote will be taken on the topic of marriage equality on election day in early 2014-NOV. The public will vote on whether to overturn an amendment to the state constitution passed in 2004 that define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman. Washington state to the north of Oregon, California to the south and Hawaii to the west have already legalized same-sex marriage.
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
Joel Connelly, "Prominent Republicans back gay marriage in court brief," Seattle pi, 2014-MAR-04, at: http://blog.seattlepi.com/
"Mayor Walsh: 'I‚ll be Unable to Participate in the Parade'," The Rainbow Times, 2014-MAR-16, at: http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/
Judge issues injunction in Tennessee same-sex marriage case," Dallas Voice, 2014-MAR-14, at: http://www.dallasvoice.com/
"Siofra M," "Where Are The 10 Best Countries To Live, In 2014?," The Richest, 2013-DEC-30, at: http://www.therichest.com/
Alex Wayne, "Obamacare Insurers to Cover Same-Sex Spouses, U.S. Says," Bloomberg news, 2014-MAR-14, at: http://www.bloomberg.com/
How you may have arrived here:
Copyright ¬© 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2014-MAR-03
Latest update: 2014-MAY-10
Author: B.A. Robinson