Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2014-OCT: Part 3:
OCT-10 to 18: Accelerating changes
involving same-sex marriage, LGBT equality, etc.
We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
Events during earlier in October are described in in the previous essay.
Developments during 2014-OCT-10 to 18:
- 2014-OCT-10: Status of marriage equality in the U.S.: As noted previously:
- Prior to OCT-06, same-sex couples could obtain marriage licenses and subsequently marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
- On OCT-06, the refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari (accept appeals) in 4 lawsuits from a total of three U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal directly affected five states: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah. Same-sex couples were able to marry almost immediately in each of these five states.
- On OCT-07, in an unrelated decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling for both Nevada and Idaho, legalizing marriage in both states. Same-sex couples were able to obtain marriage licenses everywhere in Nevada during OCT-10. But the state of Idaho obtained a temporary stay from the U.S. Supreme Court to at least temporarily prevent same-sex marriages in that state. 1
- As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on OCT-06:
- Same-sex marriage became "settled law" in the 4th, 7th, and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. This meant that among the 14 states under the jurisdiction of these three Circuit Courts any states that still banned same-sex marriage are expected to make them available.
- On OCT-10, marriages by same-sex couples were legalized in North Carolina. More details.
That left Kansas, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming that were expected to attain marriage equality in the near future. 1
- OCT-10: Idaho: The U.S. Supreme Court lifted its temporary stay on same-sex marriages in Idaho. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced on the same day that same-sex couples there would be able to marry starting on OCT-15 at 10 AM.
- OCT-12: Alaska: Judge Timothy Burgess of the U.S. District Court in Alaska issued his ruling in the case Hamby v. Parnell. He ruled Alaska's constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. It had been passed by the voters in 1998. He determined that it violated both the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He did not issue a stay on his order, and so same-sex couples were able to pick up marriage licenses the following day. The State of Alaska filed an emergency appeal with the District Court for a stay. It was refused. One couple was married in Barrow, AK. Alaska normally has a waiting period of three days before couples can marry. Whether a stay will be in place by Thursday OCT-16 when some couple's waiting interval will expire was unknown. More details.
The state is requesting an appeal to an 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Kansas: By OCT-13, a county court in Jackson County had provided a license to one same-sex couple. However, Governor Sam Brownback (R) and Attorney General, Derek Schmidt (R) decided to ignore their oath of office which requires them to uphold the federal constitution. Schmidt filed a request with the Kansas Supreme Court to block further issuing of licenses. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas is preparing to file a lawsuit to bring marriage equality to Kansas. More details
- Wyoming: On OCT-07, a same-sex couple, Theresa Bingham and Linda Maheffey. went through the standard ritual of applying for a marriage license and being gracefully refused. Three other couples joined them and launched a lawsuit in federal District Court. It is called "Guzzo v. Mead." A hearing was held on OCT-16 with federal Judge Scott Skavdahl presiding. He issued his ruling on OCT-17, declaring Wyoming's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Marriage licenses to same-sex couples became available almost immediately. More details
- West Virginia: On OCT-09, Attorney General Patrick Morrissey (R) and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) both acknowledged that when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to not accept an appeal of the ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' in Bostic v. Schaefer then the 4th Circuit Court's decision was made final and binding on West Virginia as well. Marriage equality came to this state as well.
- Public opinion poll: A national poll conducted by ABC News and Washington Post finds that 56% of American adults support, 38% oppose, and 6% have no opinion on the Supreme Court's 'refusal on OCT-06 to hear appeals from three Circuit Courts of Appeals. These are exactly the same values as are supportive, and in opposition to same-sex marriage itself. Among adults living in the 20 states that do not allow same-sex marriage, a plurality of 48% support the court's action while 44% are opposed. On the other hand 72% of white evangelical Protestants oppose the court's action. "Support ranges from 72 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents to 25 percent of Republicans." The poll's margin of error is ±3.5 percentage points. 2
- Vox.com published a map of the U.S. shows same-sex marriages legal in the District of Columbia and 31 states; 4 states will probably be added within days. 15 states still ban same sex marriages through state statutes and amendments to their Constitution and were unaffected by the recent decision by the Supreme Court to deny certiorari. However their bans are all being challenged in court. 3
- The Justice Department announced that the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages in seven additional states and extend access to 1,138 government programs, benefits and protections to such couples. The states were Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video:
"We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled. With their long-awaited unions, we are slowly drawing closer to full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans nationwide." 4
Alaska: The state of Alaska is under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It was not directly affected by the Supreme Court's decision on OCT-06. However the high court's ruling may have indirectly triggered a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess a few days later. His ruling legalized same-sex marriage in Alaska on Sunday, 2014-OCT-12. Many same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses the next day and were eligible to be married on OCT-16 after the required waiting period had passed.
However, the state requested a emergency stay from the 9th Circuit Court to prevent them from marrying. A stay was granted, but only for two days, in order for the state to request a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. The State of Alaska appealed to Justice Kennedy of the high court. As expected, their request for a stay was denied on Friday, OCT-17 at 11 AM. Same-sex couples started to obtain their marriage licenses that day. After the mandatory three day waiting interval, they were free to marry.
Marriage equality is now available in 31 states and the District of Columbia. That allows same-sex couples to marry in 63% of the jurisdictions in the U.S. More details.
- Wyoming: The U.S. District Court issued a ruling in the case Guzzo v. Mead which legalized same-sex marriage. The Legislature, Governor and Attorney General gave up their spirited defense of the state's marriage ban. Same-sex couples were able to obtain their marriage licenses and some were married after the four-day waiting interval, on the evening of OCT-21. Wyoming has become the 32nd state to attain marriage equality.
- 2014-OCT-18: Status of marriage equality in the U.S.:
- 3 states are expected to attain marriage equality shortly, as soon as federal lawsuits are firmly settled: They are: Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina.
- 32 jurisdictions have already attained marriage equality: The District of Columbia, and 31 states. This is an increase of 12 states since OCT-05!
- 15 states do not allow same-sex couples to marry. Lawsuits are active in all 15: Among the four U.S. regions as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, such couples cannot marry:
- Region 2: Midwest: In Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota
- Region 3: South: In Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.
- It may be interesting to note that in early 1967, 16 states in the southeast quadrant of the United States formed by Virginia, Texas and Florida still had
anti-miscegenation laws in place that prohibited inter-racial marriage. That situation is similar to that of same-sex marriage today when 15 states throughout the U.S. do not allow same-sex marriage in terms of numbers of states. 1967 was the year that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage across the U.S. in the case "Loving v. Virginia." If recent trends continue, and particularly if federal Circuit Courts of Appeals start to issue conflicting rulings on marriage equality, it is quite possible that the U.S. Supreme Court would choose to accept appeals of one or more same-sex marriage cases and eventually make a ruling similar to "Loving." Alternately, they could conceivably ban all same-sex marriages from sea to sea.
This topic continues in the next essay with information about events later in October.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Lyle Denniston, "Tallying the same-sex marriage states," Scotus Blog, 2014-OCT-09, at: http://www.scotusblog.com/
- Ryan Struyk, "Most Americans Back Supreme Court on Gay Marriage — Including in the Affected States," ABC News, 2014-OCT-17, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
- "Status of same-sex marriages in the US," Vox Media, 2014-OCT-17, at: http://www.vox.com/
- Eric Holder, "A message from the Attorney General," 2014-OCT-17, at: http://www.justice.gov/agwa.php
How you may have arrived here:
Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2014-OCT-01
Latest update: 2014-OCT-30
Author: B.A. Robinson