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Religious Tolerance logo

Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

2015-JAN-10 to 31: Accelerating changes
involving same-sex marriage, LGBT equality, etc.

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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.

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Events during the first third of 2015-JAN are described in in the previous essay

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  • 2015-JAN-11: USA: Complaints that some Republican governors have not fought hard enough to maintain marriage inequality:
    • SaveCalifornia.com sponsors the Campaign for Children and Families -- a California-based non-profit conservative Christian group that opposes access by same-sex couples to marriage, access by women to abortion, etc. The group is headed by Randy Thomasson who has been troubled by what he views as the lack of opposition to marriage equality by many Republican governors. He said:

      "I don’t expect any defense of real marriage from Democrat governors, who are virtually locked into the delusion of homosexual ‘marriages.' But Republican governors who say they believe in man-woman marriage – well, that’s an entirely different story with different expectations." 1

    • Bryan Fischer is the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA). The Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) lists the AFA as an anti-gay hate organizations. 2,3 Fischer said:

"The Constitution is utterly silent on the topic of homosexuality and marriage, which means, according to the Constitution the Founders gave us, this is an issue reserved exclusively to the states. Any ruling from any federal court that imposes domestic policy on a state is by its very nature unconstitutional, and no governor has any obligation to obey it."

He appears to believe that state constitutional amendments that violate the Due Process and/or Equal Protection clauses of 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution are still constitutional. This is a common belief among religious and social conservatives.

  • 2015-JAN-12: South Dakota: District Judge declares the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. She has stayed her order to allow the state to appeal the case to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeal. More details.

  • 2015-JAN-14: Ireland: The Irish public strongly supports marriage equality: A national poll shows that 76% of adults favor same-sex marriage. A referendum is scheduled for 2015-MAY. If the actual votes represent the public opinion, than marriage equality is certain to come to the country. That would leave Australia, Northern Ireland, and 14 states in the U.S. as the only large English speaking areas in the world that still discriminate against same-sex couples in marriage. More details

  • 2015-JAN-15: Washington, DC: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide on JAN-16 whether to accept appeals from one or more of four same-sex marriage cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and/or Tennessee. On JAN-09, the Justices did deny a request from plaintiffs in a Louisiana case to accept an appeal of a decision by a federal District Court before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issues their ruling. 4

  • 2015-JAN: USA: Presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are voting on SSM: The 170 PC(USA) presbyteries are voting on whether to amend the denomination's Constitution to change their definition of marriage. The current Constitution states that marriage is:

    "... a civil contract between a woman and a man."

    The proposed new wording would state that:

    "Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives."

     More details

LGBT symbol

gavel2015-JAN-16: U.S. Supreme Court Justice to hear 4 SSM cases:

This is a really BIG development!

The nine justices of the court decided on JAN-16 to accept appeals from 15 plaintiffs in four cases: one each from four states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. All of these states have state constitutions that have been amended to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. The bans also prohibit recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples that have been legally solemnized out-of-state.

A panel of three judges at the U.S. 6th Circuit Courtof Appeal -- which has jurisdication over these four states -- upheld the bans in all four states by a vote of 2 to 1. In contrast, the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal had previously heard similar appeals from other states and declared their similar bans to be unconstitutional and void. This "circuit split" among the Circuit Courts undoubtedly contributed greatly to the decision by the high court to grant certiorari (hear appeals) in the four cases.

Because of the similarity among the four cases, they will be consolidated and heard together. It is likely that the combined case will be named Obergefell v. Hodges. Jim Obergefell is the one of the lead plaintiffs in the Ohio case. Richard Hodges directs the Ohio Health Department which is responsible for registering marriages in that state. We expect that "Obergefell" will go down in history as of equally importance to Loving v. Virginia which was the previous case that redefined marriage in the U.S. That was decided by the high court almost a half century ago in 1967. It legalized marriages by interracial couples across the country.

Much more information.

 

 

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Other news continues:

  • 2015-JAN-16: USA: Current status of same-sex marriage: Jeff Stone, writing for the International Business Times said:

    "The most recent state to legalize same-sex marriage was Florida when, on JAN-06, it became the 36th state to grant more rights to gay and lesbian couples. South Carolina, Montana, Kansas and Missouri each walked away from same-sex marriage bans in November, with Massachusetts starting the wave of change in 2004. Of the 36 states that have legalized same-sex marriage, 25 did so by court decision, eight by state legislature and three by popular vote, according to GayMarriage.ProCon.org.

    But same-sex marriage is still forbidden in Nebraska by constitutional amendment and 13 other states by both constitutional amendment and state law: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

    Washington, DC, also legalized gay marriage in March 2010. Marriage bans in seven of the 14 states where marriage equality is prohibited have been overturned, yet the change hasn’t been instituted because of either an appeal from the state attorney general or a delay from the judge who issued the ruling (and thus is expecting the state to appeal). Those states are Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota and Texas, where Judge Orlando Garcia wrote:

    'Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuges in our U.S. Constitution'." 5

  • 2015-JAN-23: Alabama: U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued a summary judgment in the case Searcy v. Strange. Same-sex marriage in Alabama is banned both by a 2006 constitutional amendment and by the state marriage statute. Opposition to marriage equality there has been and remains extremely high. The constitutional amendment passed by a vote of 81% opposed to SSM and 19% in favor. Polls have shown that Alabama is consistently one of the three states where opposition to SSM is highest. Recent polls show about 70% of adults still oppose same-sex marriage.

    Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Cari D. Searcy, Kimberly McKeand, and their 9-year-old son. The defendant is Attorney General Luther Strange (R). The parents had been married in California during 2008. They seek recognition of their marriage in Alabama. This would allow Searcy to adopt the couple's who they have both raised since he was born to McKeand. Currently, Searcy and McKeand are considered "legal strangers," as is Searcy and their son. They also seek to bring marriage equality to the state.

    In her ruling, District Judge Granade declared the SSM bans in Alabama to be unconstitutional and void because they violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. She placed a temporary stay on her ruling that automatically expires on FEB-09.

  • 2015-JAN-26: Alabama: U.S. District Judge Callie Granade issued a second, similar SSM ruling. This one gives a gay unmarried couple, James Strawser and John Humphrey, the right to marry in Alabama. The ruling in Strawser v. Strange has also been stayed until FEB-09. The state has appealed both cases to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and asked the court to impose an extended stay until mid-year when the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in the consoldated case involving marriage equality in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

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This topic continues in the next essay with developments during 2015-FEB.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Leo Hohmann, "GOP governors too timid to stop 'gay' marriage," WND, 2015-JAN-11. at: http://www.wnd.com/
  2. "Hate map," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2013, at: http://www.splcenter.org
  3. "18 anti-gay groups and their propaganda," Intelligence Report, Winter-2010, Issue #140, at: http://www.splcenter.org/
  4. Oralandar Brand-Williams, "Justices to rule on same-sex marriage," The Detroit News, 2015-JAN-16, at: http://www.detroitnews.com/
  5. Jeff Stone, "Gay Marriage Map Shows Marriage Equality Falls Along Red, Blue Lines -- For Now," International Business Times, 2015-JAN-16, at: http://www.ibtimes.com/

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-JAN-12
Latest update: 2015-JAN-18
Author: B.A. Robinson
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