Monday, June 17, 2013

Change is in the wind.

In the years leading up to the 1967 Supreme Ruling of the case Loving V. Virginia, the opponents said many things about the issue of marriage equality saying it go's against god and that what these people were doing was a sin against man and nature. Couples were dragged out of their homes and beaten and abuses on the streets. To get married couples had to go to other states to get married and worried if their marriage was going to be legal in their home state. Dose this all sound familiar? I hope is dose because it's repeating itself. In the time that I'm speaking of, the issue was about inter-racial marriage, but the fight is the same today for same sex & transgender couples and soon we'll be able to truly have equality. In 1967 inter-racial marriage became legal and was decided on a federal level and therefore making sure that all states had to fallow. The same will happen when the Federal Court rules on equality once again.

In 38 states, marriage equality is a prominent issue:

7 State Ballots   21 Federal Laws   44 State Laws   51 Lawsuits

Latest National Polls

  • On 15 February 2013, the Respect For Marriage Coalition reported that 75% of Americans believe that same-gender marriage is a constitutional right, and 59% believe denying full marriage equality is discriminatory.
  • On 15 February 2013, regarding DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act) Section 3 (which denies 1,138 federal benefits to same-gender couples), the Center for American Progress and Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders surveyed registered American voters, and reported that 66% say that same-gender spouses should receive Social Security survivor benefits, 62% say the law is discriminatory, 59% oppose the law, and 52% support same-gender marriage.
  • On 17 March 2013, CNN/ORC surveyed 1,021 adult Americans and reported that 53% support same-gender civil marriage, and 44% don’t.
  • On 18 March 2013, ABC News/Washington Post surveyed 1,001 adults, and reported that 58% of the nation supports marriage equality, and 36% remains opposed, with support continuing to rise in every demographic group.  And 64% also say that the U.S. Supreme Court should decide the constitutionality of marriage bans for all states, rather than each state taking its own approach.
  • On 21 March 2013, Fox News surveyed 1,002 national registered voters (40% Democrat, 39% Republican, 17% other, 4% declined), and reported that 49% favor same-gender marriage, 46% oppose it, and 5% don’t know.  Curiously, 53% of the Fox-surveyed voters recognize a constitutional right to marry, but only 49% want that right fulfilled, leaving 4% who recognize other citizens’ constitutional rights but don’t want them fulfilled.
  • On 21 March 2013, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide and reported that52% favor same-gender civil marriage, but 43% don’t.
  • On 4 April 2013, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,711 voters and reported that same-gender marriage is supported 50%, and opposed 41%, with 9% undecided.  This represents a 3% increase in support in only 1 month.  And 56% say marriage should follow the U.S. Constitution, not state laws.
  • On 9 May 2013, ABC News surveyed 1,008 adults nationwide on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 55% support it and 40% oppose it.
  • On 13 May 2013, Gallup surveyed 1,535 adults nationwide and reported that 53% support same-gender civil marriage, and 45% don’t.  Regarding the effect on society, 19% think same-gender civil marriage would improve society, 39% think it would worsen society, and 40% expect no change.
  • On 20 May 2013, Gallup surveyed 1,535 adult Americans nationwide, and reported that, for the first time ever, most people (59%) in all age groups approve of gay or lesbian relations (74% of ages 18-34, 54% of ages 35-54, 51% of age 55 and older), and 38% don’t approve.
  • On 3 June, Bloomberg National Poll surveyed a demographically correct cross section of 1,002 U.S. adults and reported that 52% support same-gender civil marriage (but 41% don’t), and that among supporters, 61% want a single national law instead of 52 state-level laws.
  • On 6 June, Pew Research Center surveyed 1,504 adults and reported that 72% see same-gender civil marriage as inevitable.   Among proponents, 85% see it as inevitable; even among opponents, 59% agree.
  • On 6 June 2013, Huffington Post surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults of typical demographics (age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, children, voter registration, religion, worship frequency, and political interests), and reported that 45% support DOMA (and oppose federal recognition of same-gender civil marriage), but 41% oppose DOMA (and 43% support federal recognition of same-gender civil marriage).
  • On 6 June 2013, the New York Times and CBS News surveyed 1,022 adults and reported that:  on whether same-gender civil marriage should be legal, 51% say yes, 44% no, and 5% don’t know; legalization should be decided by states 60%, federally 33%, don’t know 6%; and whether federal marriage benefits should be identical for same-gender and mixed-gender couples, 56% say yes, 39% no, and 5% don’t know.
  • On 12 June 2013, ABC News surveyed a random, national sample of 1,007 adults, and reported that57% support same-gender civil marriage (40% do not), and 63% support the same federal marriage benefits for legally married same-gender couples as mixed-gender couples (34% do not).  

7 State Ballots

Arizona  On 19 November 2012, Arizona Advocates for Marriage Equality filed state forms announcing plans to raise money for a campaign to place marriage equality on the state ballot.  Over 250,000 signatures are needed by July 2014.  In 2012, a Public Policy Polling survey reported 44% supporting same-gender marriage, and 45% opposed.  On 20 May 2013, Bisbee, AZ voted to propose a limited civil union ordinance, which will be voted on by Bisbee City Council on 4 June. 
Arkansas  On 16 November 2012, the 400-member group, Arkansans For Equality, applied for state incorporation so that they can begin work toward marriage equality.  Another group, Marriage Equality, is meeting with attorneys the same week on a similar effort.  Placing this question on the state ballot requires petition signatures from 65,000 residents.
Indiana  House Joint Resolution 6, if added to the state constitution via the 2014 ballot, would outlaw same-gender marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership (same-gender marriage is already banned by IN law).  On 7 February 2013, Republican lawmakers from both houses of the IN state legislature announced that they will not pursue the measure in 2013, but may revive it in 2014 after the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decisions have been issued.  Legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of the ban in 2011, but it has to pass the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014, and then the ballot question would go to voters in 2014.  Indiana Equality Action Executive Director Rick Sutton says his group is concentrating on the public vote in 2014.  On 13 December 2012, Ball State University and WISH-TV polled 602 Indiana adults regarding same-gender marriage, and reported that 45% support it, 45% oppose it, and 10% have no opinion.  Separately, 55% favor civil union, and 54% oppose a constitutional ban on same-gender marriage, while 38% support a ban.
Michigan  On 31 January 2013, the Marriage Michigan PAC announced it will collect over 300,000 signatures and raise $10 million so that in November 2014 voters can (a) repeal the 2004 same-gender marriage ban and (b) pass marriage equality.  Meanwhile, Equality Michigan, the states largest LGBT advocate group, is running public education campaigns in planning for a 2016 ballot measure.  In November 2012, Michigan State University polled 1,015 adults, who reported 56% support for same-gender marriage, 39% opposition, and 5% undecided.  On 14 May 2013, the Detroit News surveyed 600 registered voters and reported that 57% support marriage equality (but 37% don't), a 12% increase in support since 2012.  On 29 May 2013, state senators introduced 4 bills to advance recognition of same-gender couples:  Joint Resolution W would let MI voters repeal the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage; Resolution 64 would urge repeal of the federal Defense-of-Marriage Act; Bill 405 would repeal other limitations on same-gender relationships, and Bill 406 would recognize same-gender marriages from states where they are already legal.
Nevada  In 2002, NV banned same-gender marriage via its constitution.  In 2009, the legislature created domestic partnerships.  On 22 April 2013, a joint resolution to repeal the state’s same-gender marriage ban and approve same-gender marriage was approved by the NV Senate, and on 23 May 2013, it was approved by the state Assembly, on a 27-to-14 vote.  If both houses approve it again in 2015, it will go to voters in 2016.  A 2012 Public Policy Polling survey showed 47% support same-gender marriage, and 42% oppose it.  On 25 February 2013, the Retail Association of Nevada polled 500 likely voters and reported that 54% favor upgrading civil unions to same-gender marriage, but 43% oppose it.
Ohio  A petition for a ballot question to repeal Ohio’s 2004 constitutional ban on marriage equality was approved on 4 April 2012.  On 12 December 2012, Quinnipiac University reported that among 1,165 registered Ohio voters, 47% oppose marriage equality, 45% support it, and 9% refuse to answer.  Among African-Americans, 55% are in favor, and 36% are opposed.  On 16 April 2013, Lucas County, OH commissioners unanimously voted to support repeal of OH’s same-gender marriage ban.  On 19 April 2013 Quinnipiac University reported a poll of 1,138 registered Ohio voters, in which 48% support same-gender marriage but 44% don’t.  On 9 May 2013, the OH Democratic Party officially launched a fund-raising campaign to repeal the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  FreedomOhio co-founder Ian James said his group will easily collect the 385,253 valid, registered, voter signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties at least 125 days before the November 2014 election.
Oregon  On 19 February 2013, the coalition Oregon United For Marriage filed with state officials 2,000 sponsorship signatures (twice the number needed for a ballot measure to revise the constitution to allow same-gender marriage instead of banning it.  Signatories include Governor John Kitzhaber, former Governor Barbara Roberts, state legislators, mayors, and city/county elected officials.  Once signatures are validated, the ballot titling process starts, after which supporters need to collect 116,284 signatures to place the question on the November 2014 ballot.  The current domestic partner law gives same-gender couples all state-level rights of marriage, except for the word “marriage” and except for eligibility for federal marriage-related benefits (when they become available).  The ballot initiative is sponsored by Basic Rights Oregon.  On 7 December 2012, a Public Policy Polling survey of 614 voters showed 77% want a say on same-gender marriage, 54% would legalize it, and 40% would not, with voters under age 45 supporting it by a 68-to-30 spread.  On 23 April 2013, Oregon United For Marriage and Basic Rights Oregon launched their 2014 campaign with a 4-minute online video.  On 29 April 2013, Fox12 and Oregon Public Broadcasting surveyed 500 Oregon voters and reported that 49% support same-gender marriage, 42% oppose it, and 9% are undecided.

21 Federal Laws

    • Nationwide #1  The proposed RFMA (Respect-for-Marriage Act) was introduced as H. 1116 into the House of Representatives, and as S. 598 into the Senate, both on 16 March 2011.  The Senate held a hearingon 20 July 2011, and then the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 in favor of advancing the bill to the Senate floor, where it awaits 60 votes in order to avoid a Republican-led filibuster.  The Republican-controlled House has neither held a hearing, nor advanced the bill to the House floor. As of 11 February 2013, the bill has 161 House sponsors (57 more are needed), and 33 Senate sponsors (27 more are needed).
    • Nationwide #2  On 14 February 2013, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) and Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) re-introduced into Congress the MSET (Military Spouses Equal Treatment) Act of 2013, which would expand the definition of “spouse” in federal laws (U.S. Code, Titles 10, 32, 37, 38) to guarantee over 70 benefits and ensure equal pay, recognition, and support for all LGB military personnel, veterans, and spouses, even if the U.S. Supreme Court does not strike down the Defense-of-Marriage Act.  Service Members Legal Defense Network filed suit in October 2011 (McLaughlin v. Panetta) to accomplish the same result (see details in the Lawsuits section below).
    • Nationwide #3, #4, #5, #6  On 11 August 2012, the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee unanimously approved language supporting:  (3) marriage equality, (4) immigration/naturalization for binational families, (5) an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (including sexual orientation and gender identity), and (6) protection against bullying for LGBT youth.  These resolutions were ratified at the September 2012 national convention in Charlotte, NC.
    • Nationwide #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15  On 28 August 2012, the Republican Party ratified a new Platform during its national convention, with the largest number of planks for anti-LGBT laws ever adopted:  (7) a constitutional amendment banning same-gender couples; (8) federal inheritance taxes charged only to same-gender spouses; (9) human rights only as defined in the Christian Bible but never granted to LGBT people; (10) civilian federal employee family benefits denied to LGBT families; (11) military/veteran pay cut up to 40% for every soldier with a same-gender spouse; (12) “religious freedom” for other people used as the excuse to deny human/civil rights to LGBT people; (13) continued discrimination against American Boy Scouts, volunteers, and employees; (14) discrimination by adoption agencies allowed against LGBT couples; and (15) immigration allowed for opposite-gender spouses, but denied to same-gender spouses.
    • Nationwide #16  On 3 May 2011, the ECDAFA (Every Child Deserves A Family Act) was introduced, a law which would prohibit discrimination in adoption/foster-care based on parents’ marital status, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity, and/or child’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  On 7 May 2013, U.S. Senators and Representatives re-introduced it.  The bill is supported by a wide variety of professional organizations in child welfare, medicine, psychology, public health, and civil rights.  Over 104,000 children are awaiting adoption, but LGBT individuals and couples still face discrimination in over 30 states.
    • Nationwide #17  On 11 September 2012, U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) introduced the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, which would ban same-gender marriages on military bases.  In the House of Representatives, the companion bill, H.R. 3828, was introduced on 25 January 2012.
    • Nationwide #18  On 14 April 2011, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) was introduced (House 1537, Senate 821), after having been proposed in every Congress since 2000.  The bill would allow the nation’s 646,464 same-gender couples to immigrate and obtain permanent resident status on the same basis as opposite-gender couples.  On 27 September 2012, the Homeland Security Department officially began recognizing LGBT immigrants as having a family whenever they have a U.S. spouse or a long-term same-gender partner.  That family relationship is a fundamental factor when the Department makes immigration decisions.  On 5 February 2013, the Act was reintroduced. 
    • Nationwide #19  On 20 September 2012, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced legislation (S. 3575) to make the Older Americans Act of 1965 LGBT-inclusive, which would help reduce rates of LGBT poverty/homelessness.
    • Nationwide #20  On 28 February 2013, U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) introduced in Congress the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, which would:  (a) exempt military personnel from responsibility for any anti-LGBT actions, (b) allow chaplains to refuse service to LGBT armed forces personnel, and (c) prohibit same-gender ceremonies on military bases.
    • Nationwide #21  On April 19 and 22, the U.S. Senate held hearings on an 844-page immigration bill, which still did not include LGBT binational couples.  On 30 April, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that if LGBT equality gets added, Republicans will kill the entire bill, but Democratic Senator Leahy dismissed Rubio’s threat and said he would add both amendments.  On 4 May 2013, President Obama announced that LGBT immigration equality is “the right thing to do.”  On 7 May 2013, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced 2 committee amendments to the proposed comprehensive immigration reform law.  They would:  (1) let LGBT Americans sponsor foreign permanent partners for U.S. residency; and (2) treat lawfully married bi-national same-gender couples the same as mixed-gender couples.  On 21 May 2013, Republican leaders forced the deletion of LGBT people from the immigration reform bill before the bill was even released from the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Restoring fairness toward LGBT people is virtually impossible when the bill reaches the Senate floor, and certainly impossible when the bill reaches the Republican-controlled House.

44 State Laws

  • Arizona #1  In January 2013, State Senator Ed Ableser (D-Tempe) introduced Senate Bill 1041, which would give same-gender couples the same rights as opposite-gender couples.  On 30 January 2013, state Senator Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix) introduced SCR-1004 to repeal the constitutional marriage ban (which is nearly identical to California’s ban) via ballot vote, and SB-1165 to enact a same-gender marriage law, and SB-1164 to repeal a law that gives precedence to married, mixed-gender couples in adoption cases.  A ballot measure is being attempted (see above section for details).
  • Arizona #2  On 13 May 2013, Behavior Research Center surveyed 700 household heads, including 438 registered voters, and reported that 55% support same-gender civil marriage, and 35% oppose it.
  • Arizona #3  On 4 June 2013, Bisbee, AZ became the first city in the state to offer civil unions for same-gender couples.  The state attorney general has no objections to the measure.  Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff already offer domestic partner registries, and Tucson, Tempe, and other municipalities are considering similiar civil union ordinances.
  • Arkansas  On 12 November 2012, Eureka Springs became the first city in Arkansas to endorse marriage equality.
  • California #1  On 31 May 2012, a same-gender marriage advocate, California state senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), proposed Senate Bill 1140, which defines marriage as a civil contract instead of a religious ceremony.  The bill would protect churches’ non-profit status even when clergy refuse to perform same-gender wedding ceremonies.
  • California #2  On 28 February 2013, Field Poll surveyed 834 registered voters, and reported that 61% support same-gender marriage, 32% oppose it, and 7% have no opinion.  On 25 March 2013, KPIX-TV and SurveyUSA surveyed 500 adults and reported that 67% of Californians support same-gender marriage, 30% oppose, and 3% are undecided.  While 52% support the lower court rulings declaring Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, 32% disagree, and 17% are unsure.  On 29 May 2013, the Public Policy Institute of California surveyed 1,704 adults and reported that 56% support same-gender civil marriage, but 38% don’t.  On 3 June 2013, Equality California surveyed 800 likely voters and reported that 55% favor same-gender civil marriage, but 37% oppose it.  On 11 June 2013, Los Angeles Times polled 1,500 registered CA voters, and reported that 58% support same-gender civil marriage, but 36% oppose it.
  • Colorado #1  On 9 January 2013, civil union legislation was proposed (the state constitution prohibits full, same-gender marriage).  On 11 January 2013, the bill passed the Senate a second time, again by 21 to 14.  On 28 February 2013, the state House Judiciary Committee passed a civil union marriage bill on an 8-to-3 vote, sending it for a full House vote, expected in mid-March.  On 6 March 2013, the Colorado House Finance Committee passed the civil union bill, even though all 6 Republicans voted against it, and they tried but failed to amend it to allow discrimination by Catholic Charities against same-gender adoption couples.  On 8 March 2013, the bill passed its third and final committee (House Appropriations) on a 9-to-4 vote.  On 12 March, just 2 months after the new, Democratically-controlled legislature opened session, lawmakers finished voting in favor, and sent the bill to the governor, who has promised to sign it immediately.
  • Colorado #2  On 28 January 2013, teenager Zofie Mandelski filed a ballot proposal to repeal the constitutional ban against same-gender marriage, and a hearing is scheduled for 11 February.
  • Colorado #3  On 4 November 2012, the Denver Post newspaper reported about a survey of 695 likely voters conducted by New Jersey-based Survey USA, in which 36% support marriage, 32% support civil union, 27% oppose all recognition, and 6% don't know.  On 23 April 2013, a Public Policy Polling survey of 500 Colorado voters reported that for same-gender marriage, 51% support and 43% oppose, whereas for civil unions, 50% support and 38% oppose.  And 23% oppose any legal recognition of same-gender couples.
  • Delaware #1  On 23 April 2013, the DE House approved the same-gender marriage bill, and on 7 May 2013, the Senate approved it, and Governor Markell then signed it.
  • Delaware #2  On 4 March 2013, Global Strategy Group polled 600 registered voters, and reported that 54% support same-gender marriage, and 37% oppose it.
  • District of Columbia #1  On 28 June 2012, the DC Republican Party became the first state Republican party to add an equality plank to its platform, stating that, “all individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, are entitled to full and equal protection under civil law and the U.S. Constitution, and that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.”  This is the polar opposite of Republican Party platforms in Montana, Texas, and elsewhere.
  • District of Columbia #2  On 31 March 2013, for the first time ever, a Roman Catholic cardinal confirmed his support of civil unions for all same-gender couples.  Retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (archbishop of Washington, DC, 2000-2006) announced that he has “no problem” with same-gender couples entering into civil unions that confer all of the same rights as full marriage.  Since 2003, Vatican policy has required local church officials to actively campaign for civil unions whenever that would prevent passage of a full equality law, which is what the church did in NH, ME, RI, WA, Argentina, Australia, Austria, England, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, and Wales.  But Cardinal McCarrick’s statement is the first time that a high-ranking member of the American Roman Catholic clergy has universally supported civil union for all same-gender couples independently of any local campaign strategy.
  • Florida #1  On 9 January 2013, a domestic partnership law was proposed in the Florida state senate, which would grant a few marital rights to same-gender couples but not full marriage, which is banned in the state constitution.  On 19 February 2013, the sponsor postponed a vote on the bill so that she could rewrite it to better match local ordinances of the 18 cities and counties which already have such regulations.
  • Florida #2  On 20 December 2012, a Quinnipiac University poll of 1,261 registered FL voters found that 45% oppose same-gender marriage, 43% support it, with 12% unaccounted for.  On 20 March 2013, PPP surveyed 500 Florida voters and reported that regarding marriage, 38% support same-gender marriage, 37% support only civil union, 23% oppose all legal recognition, and 2% are unsure.  Regarding domestic partnership, 23% support it, 17% oppose it, and 60% are unsure.  On 21 March 2013, Public Religion Research Institute reported that 54% of Floridians favor marriage equality.
  • Hawaii #1  In summer 2012, Democrats added marriage equality to their state party platform.  In 2012, state legislators created a commission to perform a study via the University of Hawaii to determine whether civil unions are a successful substitute for full marriage.  Results are expected on 1 November 2013.  On 23 January 2013, state Representative Faye Hanohano (D) proposed a law to legalize same-gender marriage, and Representative John Mizuno (D) introduced two constitutional amendments:  one to allow same-gender marriage, and another to ban it, so that voters can decide.  Separately, 15 representatives from both parties, and one senator, introduced proposed laws to ban same-gender marriage.  On 11 February 2013, the state House Judiciary Committee decided not to hold any hearings on the same-gender marriage bill, effectively killing the proposal until the next legislative session starts in January 2014.
  • Hawaii #2  On 28 January 2013, Anzalone Liszt Grove Research published a statewide poll of 500 voters which reported 55% in favor, and 37% opposed.  
  • Illinois #1  On 20 December 2012, Lambda Legal, ACLU Illinois, and Equality Illinois announced Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition to pass HB-5170, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, a bill that would upgrade civil union to full marriage.  Lead sponsors and Chicago Democrats Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris are seeking passage in February 2013.  The billl is supported by Governor Quinn, IL Republican Party chairman Pat Brady, over 250 clergy members, President Obama, NAACP’s IL chapter, and 50 state business leaders and organizations.  On 14 February, the full Senate passed the bill.  On 26 February 2013, an IL state House committee approved the bill by a 6-to-5 vote, thus sending it to the full House for a vote.
  • Illinois #2  On 5 December 2012, a Public Policy Polling survey of 500 IL voters showed IL voters favor same-gender marriage by a 47-to-42 spread.  Among voters under 45, 58% favor it, 37% don’t.  African-Americans voters favor legalization by a 60-to-16 spread.  On 15 February 2013, a Crain’s/Ipsos poll of 600 IL adults reported that 50% support marriage equality (37% strongly, 13% somewhat), 29% oppose it (19% strongly, 10% somewhat), and 21% aren’t sure.  Among opponents, for 51% religion is a factor, for 48%, non-religious reasons are a factor, for 42% other legislation is more important, and for 28% civil unions seem adequate.
  • Indiana #1  On 12 June 2012, the IN Republican Party deleted its 12-year-old platform plank claiming that marriage is only for opposite-gender couples, but did not add any plank supporting same-gender couples.  On 22 November 2012, Indiana state representative Eric Turner (R-Marion) said he’ll again propose the amendment that he authored to outlaw same-gender marriage via the state constitution (same-gender marriage is already banned by IN law).  Legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of the constitutional ban in 2011, but it has to pass the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014.  A House leadership meeting in December 2012 will discuss when and whether to resubmit the amendment.  Indiana Equality Action Executive Director Rick Sutton says his group is concentrating on the public vote in 2014.  For more information, see “Ballots” section above.
  • Indiana #2  On 13 August 2012, the Indianapolis City-County Council granted domestic partner benefits to unmarried city-county employees, including LGBT couples.
  • Iowa #1  On 26 February 2013, a Republican state senator proposed a constitutional same-gender marriage ban, followed on 5 March 2013 by a companion measure in the Assembly.  On 8 March 2013, the ban died, after neither chamber assigned it to a committee.  It remains eligible for consideration in 2014. 
    On 15 April 2013, IA Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) told the anti-LGBT “Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition” (formerly the Iowa Christian Alliance) that tightening voter-ID regulations is a prerequisite to repealing same-gender marriage.
  • Iowa #2  On 26 February 2012, a Des Moines Register poll of 800 Iowans reported that 56% oppose a marriage ban, and 38% favor it.
  • Iowa #3  On 3 May 2013, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state must list both same-gender parents on a child’s birth certificate.
  • Iowa #4  On 2 May 2013, Republican lawmakers withdrew their proposal to drastically cut the pay of the remaining Supreme Court judges who voted in favor of same-gender marriage back in 2009.  The proposal would have taken effect if the state ever re-bans same-gender marriage.
  • Kentucky  On 27 June 2012, the Louisville/Jefferson County Democratic Party called for the national Democratic Party to add same-gender marriage as a plank in this year’s party platform.
  • Maine  On 25 January 2013, a Public Policy Polling survey of 1,268 ME voters reported that 53% approve same-gender marriage, and 43% disapprove.  Regarding the same-gender marriage law created by voters on 6 November 2012, 61% reported no impact, 17% reported positive impact, and 22% reported negative impact.
  • Michigan #1  On 23 December 2011, Governor Snyder (R) signed legislation that outlawed all domestic partner benefits for all state employees, except those at state universities.  On 30 April 2013, the MI Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal, thereby ensuring that same-gender domestic partners of state employees will continue qualifying for health insurance.
  • Michigan #2  On 19 November 2012, Michigan State University reported results from a quarterly phone survey of 1,015 MI adult residents, in which same-gender marriage is favored 56%, opposed 39%, and 5% unaccounted for.
  • Michigan #3  On 29 May 2013, state senators introduced 4 bills to advance recognition of same-gender couples:  Joint Resolution W would let MI voters repeal the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage; Resolution 64 would urge repeal of the federal Defense-of-Marriage Act; Bill 405 would repeal other limitations on same-gender relationships, and Bill 406 would recognize same-gender marriages from states where they are already legal.  See "State Ballots" section above.
  • Minnesota #1  On 4 March 2013, 340 clergy and religious organizations endorsed same-gender marriage.  On 12 March 2013, Senate and House committees both voted in favor, sending the bill to the floors of the two chambers this spring.  On 10 April 2013, the pending same-gender marriage bill was strongly endorsed by four political parties:  DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor), Independence, Libertarian, and Green.  Only the Republican party is opposed.  On 6 May 2013, the MN House Ways & Means Committee voted in favor, and on 7 May, the MN Senate Finance Committee also voted in favor.  A House floor vote passed on 9 May, and a Senate floor vote passed on 13 May, sending the bill to Governor Dayton, who has promised since December 2012 to sign it.
  • Minnesota #2  On 24 January 2013, Public Policy Polling reported on MN voter feelings about same-gender marriage (47% approve, 45% do not) and civil union (75% approve, 23 do not).  On 5 March 2013, the Star Tribune polled 800 Minnesotans, and reported that 53% oppose same-gender marriage, 38% favor it, and 9% are undecided.  As with national polls, marriage equality is favored more by women over men, by the younger over the elderly, by the urban over the rural, and by Democrats over Republicans.  On 22 April 2013, Survey USA and KSPT-TV Minneapolis asked 500 MN voters about same-gender marriage, and 51% favored, 47% opposed, and 2% weren't sure.
  • Montana  On 9 June 2012, the MT Democratic Party voted unanimously to repeal the state’s same-gender marriage ban, but Republicans voted for a new Party Platform that says marriage is only between one man and one woman, and says that LGBT people “tear at the fabric of society and contribute to the breakdown of the family unit.”
  • Nebraska  On 4 October 2012, an Omaha, NE World Herald poll of 800 registered voters showed 54% support same-gender couples, up from only 30% in 2000.  The new breakdown is:  32% support marriage, and another 22% support civil unions, but 38% oppose any legal recognition at all, and 8% are undecided/unsure/refused.
  • Nevada #1  See "Ballot" section above.
  • New Jersey #1  On 10 December 2012, NJ Assemblyman Reed Gusciora introduced ballot question A-3611 which would replace the current civil union law with a full marriage equality law.  The ballot question still needs the approvals of both sides of the legislature and Governor Christie before it appear on the 2014 ballot.  On 21 February 2013, lawmakers committed to voting by 31 December 2013 on whether to override overnor Christie’s 17 February 2012 veto of same-gender marriage.  Whether by legislative veto override, voter ballot, or court decision, civil union is expected to be upgraded to full marriage by 2014.  Most lawmakers are working toward override (3 more votes to reach 27 out of 40 senators, and 12 more votes to reach 54 out of 80 Assembly members), some lawmakers are working for a citizen vote by ballot, and a court case (see next section below) remains in progress.  On 30 March 2013, New Jersey ACLU Executive Director Udi Ofer committed to mobilize voters, lobby lawmakers, convene town hall meetings, hold news conferences, and sponsor rallies to quickly upgrade the NJ civil union law to full marriage.
  • New Jersey #2  On 5 December 2012, a Public Policy Polling survey of 600 NJ voters showed they favor same-gender marriage by a 53%-to-36% spread.  Support is only 21% among Republicans.  Opposition is only 19% among Democrats.  Among NJ voters, 72% think they should be allowed to vote.  On 15 April 2013, a Rutgers University-Eagleton poll surveyed 923 adult New Jerseyans, including 819 registered voters, and reported that 69% support a voter referendum on same-gender marriage, 62% favor same-gender marriage, and 30% oppose it.
  • New Mexico #1  On 17 January 2013, state Representative Brian Egolf introduced House Joint Resolution 3, which would allow voters to decide marriage equality.  On 21 February 2013, the House Voters & Elections Committee voted 7-to-4 to defeat the bill.  Both chambers of the legislature are Democrat-controlled and favor same-gender marriage, but Republican Governor Usana Martinez is opposed.
  • New Mexico #2  On 17 January 2013, House Republicans introduced House Joint Resolution 4, which would ban same-gender marriage.
  • New Mexico #3  On 1 February 2013, the NM House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-to-2 for a constitutional amendment allowing same-gender marriage.  Such proposals have to be approved by both the House and the Senate in 2013 before a statewide vote in 2014.
  • New Mexico #4  Per the Santa Fe, New Mexico city attorney on 19 March 2013:  “New Mexico law does not define marriage as between a man and a woman.  Nor does New Mexico law prohibit same-sex marriage.  New Mexico already recognizes same-sex marriage performed in other states and our Constitution requires equal treatment on the basis of sex.  Same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico.”  On 24 April 2013, the state capitol, Santa Fe, voted to endorse marriage equality, 5 in favor, 1 against, and 2 abstaining.
  • New Mexico #5  In 2011, a Public Policy Polling survey reported that voters support same-gender marriage 45%, and support civil union 22%.
  • New Mexico #6  On 6 June 2013, NM Attorney General Gary King says the state’s marriage laws neither allow nor forbid same-gender civil marriage, and thus are “vulnerable to challenge” and that this decision rests with the courts and/or lawmakers.
  • Ohio  By 29 August 2012, Ohio had 6 cities (Athens, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo), and 3 counties (Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas) offering optional domestic partner registries for all citizens.  The city and county registries improve the chance of passing marriage equality in the 2013 election.  For more information, see “Ballots” section above.
  • Pennsylvania #1  On 13 March 2012, HB-1434 (a constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage) was defeated in the legislature.  On 7 May 2013, PA state Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) re-introduced his proposed amendment.  It had 40 supporters in the prior legislative session, but today has only 27 supporters (all Republicans).
  • Pennsylvania #2  On 15 April 2013, state Representative Mark Cohen (D-Phila.) reintroduced his “everything-but-marriage” civil union bill, and it is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Pennsylvania #3  On 9 June 2012, the state Democratic Party resolved to support full marriage equality.  On 30 January 2013, Quinnipiac polled 1,221 registered PA voters, and reported that on same-gender marriage, 47% favor it and 43% are opposed.  On 7 February 2013, Franklin and Marshall College polled 622 registered PA voters, and reported that 52% favor it, 41% oppose it, and 8% do not know.  On 13 March, Public Policy Polling surveyed 504 voters and reported that 74% support civil union or full marriage, 45% support same-gender civil marriage, 47% oppose marriage, and 24% oppose any legal recognition.  On 28 March 2013, Franklin & Marshall College surveyed 622 registered voters and reported that 52% favor same-gender marriage, 41% oppose it.  On 8 May 2013, Franklin & Marshall College surveyed a cross-section of 526 registered PA voters regarding a constitutional amendment allowing same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 53% favor (37% strongly, 16% somewhat), 43% oppose (36% strongly, 7% somewhat), and 4% don’t know.
  • Rhode Island #1  On 14 May 2012, Governor Chafee ordered RI agencies to treat out-of-state same-gender marriages as legal, and to treat married same-gender and opposite-gender couples equally, to comply with a 2007 state attorney general’s opinion.  Results:  same-gender spouses of state employees and anyone covered by a RI-regulated insurer get health/life insurance benefits; same-gender parent names now appear on a child’s birth certificate; and same-gender couples now are exempt from sales tax on property and vehicle transfers.  Governor Chafee is continuing to press to upgrade civil union to full marriage.
  • Rhode Island #2  On 9 January 2013, President Obama endorsed same-gender marriage law (an upgrade from civil union) pending in the legislature.  Governor Lincoln Chafee supports the bill, and opposes a ballot referendum in which voters decide.  On 22 January 2013, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the measure, and on 24 January, the full House voted for it, 51-19.  On 31 January 2013, the RI State Council of Churches endorsed marriage equality as an issue of social justice, civil rights, and conscience.  On 3 February 2013, the RI Bar Association, representing licensed attorneys, voted likewise.  On 21 February 2013, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island, Providence City Council, and 60 business leaders agreed.  On 8 April 2013, the Warwick, RI City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the state’s same-gender marriage bill now pending in the state legislature.  Warwick is the state’s 2nd largest city, after Providence, the capitol.  On 23 April 2013, Rhode Island’s 5 Republican lawmakers endorsed the bill.  The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on 23 April, advancing it to the full Senate.  On 24 April, the Senate Judiciary Committee defeated an amendment for a voter referendum in 2014, then passed the full marriage equality bill, advancing it back to the House for final sign-off on 2 May, and signing by the governor on 3 May.  Same-gender weddings are expected to start by 1 August.
  • Rhode Island #3  On 31 January 2013, Public Policy Polling surveyed 614 voters and reported that 57% strongly support same-gender marriage but 36% do not, 85% support general LGBT legal rights, 31% prefer civil union over same-gender marriage, and only 13% oppose all legal recognition for same-gender couples.  On 28 February 2013, Brown University polled 593 voters, and reported that 60% of voters support same-gender marriage (mostly for equality reasons), and 26% oppose it (mostly for religious reasons).
  • Tennessee  On 4 March 2013, a Middle Tennessee State University poll of 650 Tennessee adults reported that 62% oppose same-gender marriage, 28% support it, 6% don’t know, and 4% refuse to answer.  TN has more opposition than any other state; the national opposition average is 43%.  On 13 May 2013, Vanderbilt University surveyed 1,000 Tennesseans, including 813 registered voters, and reported that 49% support some level of marriage equality (32% same-gender civil marriage vs. 17% civil union), 46% oppose any legal recognition, and 5% don’t know.  And 62% support worker benefits for partners of LGBT workers, while 31% oppose it.
  • Texas #1  On 10 June 2012, TX Democrats upgraded their party platform to include marriage equality, but TX Republicans retained their plank claiming that LGBT people “tear at the fabric of society and contribute to the breakdown of the family unit.”
  • Texas #2  On 31 January 2013, Public Policy Polling reported that among 500 TX voters, 61% favor marriage equality (33% for same-gender marriage + 28% for civil union), but 36% oppose it, and 3% are unsure.  On 6 March 2013, Equality Texas surveyed 1,000 voters and reported that 48% of voters support same-gender marriage, 48% oppose it, and 65% favor civil union.  On 6 March 2013, University of Texas and Texas Tribune surveyed 1,200 people and reported that 37% support same-gender marriage, 28% support civil union, and 28% oppose both.
  • Texas #3  On 6 February 2013, 3 lawmakers filed 3 marriage equality amendments.  State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) and State Representatives Rafael Anchia (D) and Garnet Coleman (D) aim to repeal the state’s 2005 constitutional ban on same-gender marriages and civil unions.  Any amendment requires at least two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Republican-dominated legislature, then approval by at least 51% of voters on the November 2013 ballot.
  • Texas #4  On 11 February 2013, state Senator Juan Hinojosa (D) filed a bill:  (1) to legalize civil union; and (2) to partly repeal the TX 2003 Defense-of-Marriage Act.
  • Texas #5  On 14 February 2013, TX state Representative Lon Burnam (D) introduced a bill to allow same-gender couples to marry, and to recognize such marriages from other states.
  • Texas #6  In February 2013, TX state Representative Elliott Naishtat (D) filed HB-1140 which would provide domestic partner benefits to workers at 27 TX educational and health institutions, but not to any other state employees.
  • Virginia #1  On 31 March 2013, the University of Mary Washington surveyed 1,004 adult Virginians and reported that 46% oppose same-gender civil marriage; 45% support it, and 9% don't know.  On 18 April 2013, Roanoke College surveyed 629 Virginians and reported that: (a) 45% support same-gender marriage, but 41% oppose it; (b) 62% want same-gender couples to have the same legal rights as mixed-gender couples, but 28% don't; and (c) 60% agree that same-gender couples can parent as well as mixed-gender couples, but 27% disagree.  On 15 May 2013, the Washington Post surveyed 1,000 adult Virginians, and reported that 56% support same-gender civil marriage, 33% don't, and 10% have no opinion.
  • Virginia #2  On 14 January 2013, a Republican-dominated state legislature subcommittee defeated by a 6-to-1 vote a proposal, introduced by delegate Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County), to begin repealing Virginia’s 2006 same-gender marriage ban.
  • West Virginia #1  Proposed 2012 civil union law.
  • West Virginia #2  Proposed 2012 constitutional amendment #1 to outlaw full marriage equality.
  • West Virginia #3  Proposed 2012 constitutional amendment #2 to outlaw full marriage equality.
  • West Virginia #4  Proposed 2012 constitutional amendment #3 to outlaw full marriage equality.
  • Wisconsin  On 12 November 2012, the city of Janesville, WI extended domestic partnership benefits to city library employees and their partners.
  • Wyoming  On 16 January 2013, Representatives Cathy Connolly (D-Laramie) and Keith Gingery (R) introduced House Bill 168 (domestic partnership) and House Bill 169 (marriage equality).  Both bills had bipartisan support in the House, and the domestic partnership bill had bipartisan support in the Senate.  On 28 January, a state Senate committee narrowly defeated full marriage on a 5-to-4 vote, but passed domestic partnership on a 7-to-2 vote, after which the House defeated domestic partnership on a 34-to-24 vote.  If enacted, the WY partnership law would have treated everyone possessing a domestic partnership certificate as a spouse.

51 Lawsuits

  • Alaska  On 24 September 2012, in Deborah Harris v. Alaska,Lambda Legal filed suit because Alaska denies survivor benefits to same-gender couples.
  • Arizona On 20 July 2010, in Joseph Diaz, et al., v. Janice Brewer, et. al., a federal judge barred enforcement of an AZ law that would withhold health benefits from LGBT employees, their partners, and children.  On 6 September 2011, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.  On 2 July 2012, AZ asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
  • California #1  On 5 June 2012, in Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin Perry, et al., the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court refused to re-hear its prior Proposition 8 decision.  (Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by the federal district court in San Francisco on 4 August 2010, and upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on 7 February 2012.)  The U.S. Supreme Court requires that briefs be filed in winter 2013, and the case will be argued on 26 March 2013.  A decision will be rendered by July 2013.  One issue the court will decide is whether the Proposition 8 authors even have any right to appeal the district court and appeals court decisions to the Supreme Court.  Friend-of-the-court briefs opposing marriage equality were filed by 32 anti-LGBT groups.  Plaintiffs' briefs are due 21 February, and Friend-of-the-Court briefs supporting plaintiffs are due 28 February.
  • California #2  On 22 February 2012, in Karen Golinski v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), the federal district court ruled that the DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act) is unconstitutional, after which opponents of equality appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  On 3 July 2012, the Obama Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case immediately, which would skip the appeals court review.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • California #3  On 12 July 2012, in Aranas/DeLeon, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et. al., the first class action lawsuit against the Defense-of-Marriage Act was filed by a Philippine immigrant married to an American of the same gender.  She seeks to avoid deportation of herself and her son, and to win the same right for all LGBT bi-national families.  On 19 April 2013, a federal judge ruled that DOMA is “irrational” and “unconstitutional,” that lesbian couple Jane DeLeon and Irma Rodriguez can challenge DOMA in federal court, and as a nationwide class action representing all immigrants in lawful, same-gender marriages who have been (or will be) denied status or benefits solely under DOMA Section 3.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the DOMA, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • California #4  On 1 February 2012, in Tracy and Maggie Cooper-Harris v. U.S. Attorney General Eric, et al., a soldier and her wife filed suit to obtain the same pay and benefits as other legally married, same-gender soldiers.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.  On 26-Feb-2013, the Court refused DOJ’s request to dismiss the case.  The next hearing is 1 April 2013. 
  • California #5  On 24 May 2012, in Michael Dragovich v. U.S. Treasury, U.S. IRS and CalPERS, the DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in this case about long-term health care.  On 23 July 2012, the government filed an appeal.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • California #6  On 10 February 2011, in Handi Lui, et al., v. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, et al., a binational couple sued for immigration rights.  On 28 September 2011, the federal district court dismissed the case, because of its similarity to a 1982 case in Colorado (Adams v. Howerton).  On 29 November 2011, they appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  On 12 July 2012, the court scheduled a conference for 25 October 2012.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • California #7  In April 2012, U.S. District court ruled that DOJ must reimburse employees for spousal insurance coverage denied by DOMA.  In November 2012, the Judicial Council of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a 3-judge panel, ordered San Francisco’s federal court to pay within 10 days the plaintiff/employee’s costs of insuring his husband.
  • Connecticut  In October 2011, in Carmen Cardona v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, a sailor filed suit over denial of spouse disability benefits.  On 19 April 2012, she filed an appeal in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
  • Hawaii #1  On 11 December 2011, in Emmanuel Temple, the House of Praise, et al., v. Governor Neil Abercrombie, et al., two Oahu, HI churches sued to repeal the 2011 civil union law because that law exempts churches that only perform marriage ceremonies for their members, but that exemption doesn’t apply to churches that are open to the public and rent out their facilities.  As requested by the state, on 2 October 2012, the suit was dismissed.
  • Hawaii #2  On 8 August 2012, in Natasha Jackson, et al., v. Governor Neil Abercrombie, et al., a federal judge in Honolulu ruled against LGBT couples seeking to marry.  They had argued that the HI civil union law is unconstitutional because it denies them equal treatment.  Hawaii’s 2011 civil union law grants couples only the same state rights as full marriage, but no federal marriage benefits.  The plaintiffs appealed to the 9th Ciruit Court of Appeals, where the last briefs are due in June 2013.
  • Illinois #1 & #2  On 30 May 2012, ACLU and Lambda Legal filed two lawsuits for 25 same-gender couples.  (The Tanya Lazaro, et al. v. Orr case was later consolidated into the other case, Darby v. Orr).  The plaintiffs argued that the IL civil union law is unconstitutional because it denies them the freedom to marry.  The couples’ arguments are supported by Cook County Clerk David Orr (the IL official named as defendant), Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Governor Quinn.  Madigan filed arguments the week of 24 June 2012 supporting the plaintiffs in both cases.  The court permitted two Illinois county clerks (Tazewell County Clerk Christie Webb and Effingham County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel), represented by the anti-LGBT Thomas More Society, to defend the marriage ban.  Those opponents of equality filed a motion to dismiss the case.  Two anti-LGBT organizations (Illinois Family Institute and Alliance Defending Freedom) and two churches (Grace-Gospel Fellowship church and Church of Christian Liberty) attempted to join the defendants in the case.  On 30 November 2012, the Cook County Circuit Court denied the 4 outside parties’ requests to intervene.  On 13 February 2013, the Circuit Court denied the request of the anti-LGBT Thomas More Society to suspend these cases until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on 2 other marriage cases.
  • Illinois #3  On 5 January 2012, in Demos Revelis, et al. v. Janet Napolitano, et. al., the U.S. District Court ruled that despite the DOMA, LGBT couples must be treated the same as other married couples.  On 20 September 2012, the case was dismissed for a technicality not related to DOMA.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • Maine #1  Maine law requires donors and expenditures that influence a campaign to be disclosed, but NOM has refused to disclose the donors of $1.93 million to NOM’s 2009 effort that repealed Maine’s same-gender marriage law in 2009, as well as donors to campaign to defeat marriage equality in Maine in 2012.  On 31 January 2012, in National Organization for Marriage, et. al., v. Walter McKee, et. al., the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all claims by NOM that Maine’s registration and campaign finance disclosure laws are unconstitutional.  NOM’s first appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was refused on 27 February 2012, and its second appeal was refused on 2 October 2012, leaving the lower court decision intact.
  • Maine #2  Maine law requires donors and expenditures that influence a campaign to be disclosed, but NOM has refused to disclose that data since 2009.  On 27 June 2012, in NOM, et al. v. Maine, the Superior Court affirmed the decision of the Commission on Government Ethics and Election Practices to uphold the subpoenas issued on 28 January 2010, thus requiring NOM to identify and testify about 2009 revenue sources, expenditures, and funds transfers to Stand For Marriage Maine.  NOM appealed that decision to the Maine Supreme Court, which will decide the case in 2013.
  • Massachusetts #1 & #2  On 31 May 2012, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals found the DOMA unconstitutional in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. HHS (Department of Health and Human Services), et al., and Nancy Gill, et al. v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), et al.  These are two of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.  On 29 June 2012, House Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that decision, and on 24 July, MA Attorney General Martha Coakley asked the U.S. Supreme Court uphold that decision.  The U.S. Justice Department has filed historic legal briefsin support of both lawsuits, and will argue against the DOMA if the Supreme Court reviews either case.
  • Massachusetts #3  On 9 July 2010, in Joanne Pedersen, et al. v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), et al., the U.S. district court found the DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act) unconstitutional in a case filed by GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders).  (This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.)  That ruling was appealed by the U.S. Justice Department to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.  In addition, on 17 August 2012, GLAD also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, and on 11 September 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice also asked the Court to review the case.  Back in the appeals court, on 28 August 2012, the court denied Pedersen’s request to expedite her appeal and to assign the case to the same panel that is hearing Windsor v. U.S. IRS.  On 31 August 2012, the appeals court also ruled that the Republican-controlled Legal Advisory Group is one of the losing defendants in the district court, and thus can file its own appeal by 1 October 2012.  On 28 November 2012, the appeals court suspended the case schedule, pending outcome of one or more U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
  • Massachusetts #4  On 27 October 2011, in Shannon McLaughlin, et al. v. Leon Panetta, et al., plaintiffs filed a Federal district court suit in Massachusetts seeking equal pay/benefits for active/veteran military personnel.  The suit challenges the U.S. Code and the DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act).  On 17 February 2012, the U.S. DOJ announced that it would not defend either law in this case, although it will remain a party in the case.  The Republican-controlled House of Representatives then undertook defending the laws.  The case is on hold pending decisions in Gill v. U.S. OPM and in Massachusetts v. U.S. HHS.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • Massachusetts #5  On 31 May 2012, in Dean Hara v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), the DOMA was ruled unconstitutional.  A 1st Circuit Court of Appeals decision is on hold pending resolution ofGill v. U.S. OPM.
  • Michigan  On 23 January 2012, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a lesbian couple went to federal court to challenge MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married.  On 7 September 2012, as suggested by the judge, they amended their suit to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption.  On 19 February 2013, Oakland County, Michigan withdrew its request to dismiss the lawsuit.  On 7 March 2013, a U.S. District judge heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of the state same-gender marriage ban, and heard the state’s request to dismiss the suit.  The judge decided not to dismiss, and to postpone making a ruling until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides two other marriage-related cases about the DOMA and California Proposition 8.
  • Minnesota #1  On 27 February 2012, In re: the estate of Thomas Proehl, surviving spouse James Morrison petitioned the court for permission to inherit his deceased husband’s estate.  On 1 August 2012, a judge ruled that same-gender couples legally married elsewhere can inherit each other’s property in MN, even though MN itself does not recognize same-gender marriages.  MN law prohibits same-gender couples from having contractual rights, but not statutory (legal, economic, employment, health care, spouse privilege, confidential marriage communication, inheritance) rights.
  • Minnesota #2  In 2010, in Douglas Benson, et al. v. Hennepin County Local Registrar Jill Alverson, et al., three same-gender couples filed suit challenging the MN Defense-of-Marriage Act.  A trial court dismissed the suit, but on 10 July 2011, the couples appealed.  On 23 January 2012, a MN appeals court overturned the dismissal, and ordered a full trial back in district court.  Plaintiffs' request for a summary judgment is pending, after which either they will win their case or else it will go to trial.  In February 2013, both parties agreed to put the proceedings on hold until at least the end of the MN 2013 legislative session (20 May 2013).  Litigation resumes 1 June 2013.
  • Missouri  On 27 February 2013, in Kelly Glossip v. MO Highway Patrol, the MO Supreme Court heard arguments in an equal protection case filed by ACLU on behalf of Glossip, who was denied survivor benefits when his highway patrolman partner of 15 years was killed while on duty.  The state constitution bans same-gender marriage, but not domestic partner benefits.
  • Montana  On 17 December 2012, in Jan Donaldson, et al. v. Montana, in a 4-3 decision based on the state constitutional marriage ban of 2004, the MT Supreme Court rejected the claim for equal benefits for inheritance, burial, worker compensation, death benefits, taxation, health care decision-making, divorce, custody, and child support.  But the court also wrote that the plaintiffs did not specify which laws discriminate against them, thereby inviting the couples to submit a modified request.
  • Nevada  In 2002, NV amended the state constitution to ban same-gender marriage.  In 2009, the legislature created domestic partnership.  On 10 April 2012, in Beverly Sevcik, et al., v. Governor Brian Sandoval, et al., a lawsuit seeking full marriage equality was filed in federal district court by Lambda Legal on behalf of 8 same-gender couples.  On 26 November 2012, a Mormon judge ruled that same-gender couples have no constitutional right to marry:  (1) because they usually do not procreate; and (2) because if same-gender couples start marrying, then opposite-gender couples might marry less often.  The judge also ruled that laws related to sexual orientation should not be tested under heightened scrutiny (a greater assumption that they’re unconstitutional) because gays and lesbians now have substantial political power, and thus no longer qualify as a minority class.  On 5 December 2012, the anti-LGBT group Coalition For the Protection of Marriage from Boise, ID asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.  Simultaneously, Lambda Legal appealed the November 2012 ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on 7 January 2013, that court set June 2013 deadlines for filing briefs.
  • New Jersey #1 & #2  On 29 June 2011, in Garden State Equality, et al. v. NJ Attorney General Paula Dow, et al., Lambda Legal filed a suit for 7 same-gender couples claiming that civil unions are inferior to full marriage, and that civil unions violate both the state and federal constitutions.  (This case is a continuation of Mark Lewis, et. al. v. NJ Department of Human Services Commissioner Gwendolyn Harris, a 2002 case in which the state Supreme Court did agree that it is unconstitutional to deny full marriage to same-gender couples.)  In February 2012, the court reinstated a federal equal protection claim.  A trial is expected in 2013.
  • New Jersey #3  On 23 October 2012, in the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association case, the NJ State Division of Civil Rights upheld a famous decision from January 2012 issued by a NJ Office of Administrative Law judge, who said that the Association unlawfully discriminated against a lesbian couple in 2007 when it denied their request to hold a civil union ceremony at its boardwalk pavilion, which it had promised to make available to the public in exchange for a state tax break.
  • New Mexico #1  On 17 August 2012, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear a photographer’s religion-based appeal, in Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock.  In 2006, a photography business was fined $6,638 by the state Civil Rights Commission for refusing to photograph a lesbian civil commitment ceremony.  The photographer lost her case at the Commission, in the trial court, and in the appeals court on 31 May 2012.  The state Supreme Court heard arguments on 11 March.  Equality opponents cite this case more than any other when arguing that religious freedom for some people requires discrimination against other people.
  • New Mexico #2  On 21 March 2013, in Rose Griego, et al., v. Clerk Maggie Oliver, the ACLU, NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights), and local attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of 2 same-gender couples who applied for civil marriage licenses and were denied by Bernalillo County, later expanded to 5 couples.  They also applied for a license, along with 63 other same-gender couples, in 2004.  Those 64 licenses were issued, but licenses for same-gender couples were halted soon thereafter.  Those 64 marriages are officially valid, but the 64 couples often aren’t treated equally.
  • New Mexico #3  On 6 June 2013, in Alexander Hanna & Yon Hudson v. Santa Fe County, a couple sued to obtain a same-gender civil marriage license.
  • New York #1  On 6 June 2012, in Edith Windsor v. U.S. IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the federal District Court held that the DOMA is unconstitutional in a case filed by the ACLU.  (This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.)  On 18 October 2012, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court ruling and again declared DOMA unconstitutional.  This appeals court was the first appeals court to apply heightened scrutiny (a stronger assumption that the law is unconstitutional) in reaching its ruling.  The U.S. Supreme Court requires that briefs be filed in winter 2013, and the case will be argued orally on 27 March 2013.  On 24 January 2013, court-appointed counsel filed a brief confirming:  (1) that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives lacks standing to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court in this case, and (2) that because the federal government, as defendant, agreed with plaintiff Edith Windsor and with the appeals court, then the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to hear this case.  Meanwhile, 22 anti-LGBT groups filed Friend-of-the-Court briefs opposing marriage equality.  A decision will be rendered by July 2013.
  • New York #2  On 6 July 2012, in New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms v. New York, a NY state appeals court unanimously ruled against this challenge to the 2011 same-gender marriage equality law.  On 6 August 2012, the plaintiffs appealed that ruling to the state’s highest court.  On 23 October 2012, that court declined to review the case, leaving the earlier dismissal intact.
  • New York #3  On 19 June 2012, in Jane Roe & Jane Doe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield & St. Joseph's Medical Center, a class action suit for LGBT spouse health benefits was filed in U.S. district court.  Additional filings are due 1 November, 3 December, and 17 December 2012.  Being self-insured, St. Joseph’s is exempt from federal regulation.
  • New York #4  On 2 April 2012, in Edwin Blesch, et al. v. Eric Holder, et al., 5 binational couples filed suit for immigration rights.  On 25 July 2012, the court put the case on hold pending the resolution ofWindsor v. U.S.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.
  • North Carolina  On 13 June 2012, in Marcie Fisher-Borne, et al. v. John Smith, et al., the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued several state judges in federal court on behalf of six same-gender couples and their children seeking adoption rights.
  • Ohio  In 2011, in James Koren v. Ohio Bell Telephone, the plaintiff sued his employer in federal court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for firing him because he took his husband’s last name, for gender discrimination, for disability discrimination, and for firing him because he is gay.  The court ruled that Title VII includes sexual orientation, even though it does not mention it specifically.  On 14 August 2012, the court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
  • Oklahoma  The 2004 federal case of Mary Bishop, et al. v. Tulsa County Court Clerk, et al.challenges the state constitution for denying the right to marry the person of one’s own choice, for refusing to recognize same-gender marriages performed in other states, and for other aspects of the federal Defense-of-Marriage Act.  On 28 September 2011, the four plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment.  As of 30 March 2012, the court suspended all deadlines, so no trial date has been set.  The Tulsa, County OK district attorney hired 3 anti-LGBT groups (Alliance Defense Fund, Alliance Defending Freedom, Oklahomans for Protection of Marriage) to defend the state law, and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the federal law (both laws being defended at taxpayer expense).
  • Oregon  On 24 April 2013, in a matter regarding Alison Clark (Case 13-80100), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a non-published, administrative ruling based on 3 major marriage-related rationales:  (1)Oregon’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage is unconstitutional; (2) the federal 1996 DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional; and (3) anti-LGBT laws have to be examined under the strict scrutiny standard used for other minorities such as race and sex.  The ruling doesn’t affect enforcement of the Oregon marriage ban or the federal DOMA, or hold precedential weight in future litigation.  Alison Clark is an employee of the U.S. Courts, and had filed an employee sexual orientation discrimination complaint (but not a federal lawsuit) with her employer (the U.S. Courts), because her employer refused to recognize her legal marriage to Anna Campbell, and refused to issue health care benefits to Campbell as Clark’s spouse.
  • Pennsylvania #1  On 10 May 2012, in Marie Himmelberger v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., a 3-judge panel of the PA intermediate appellate court upheld a lower court ruling that a woman who inherited her deceased civil union partner’s home in 2010 still must pay PA $108,538.83 in inheritance taxes because her partner is not her spouse, because their 2007 New Jersey civil union, obtained when they lived in NJ, carries no weight in PA, where they lived at the time that the first partner died.
  • Pennsylvania #2  On 4 January 2011, in Cozen O’Connor v. Jennifer Tobits, et al., a surviving wife sued to obtain death benefits denied by DOMA.  The most recent hearing was on 12 March 2012.  This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is defending the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charging taxpayers for the cost.  On 26 September 2012, the judge suspended the case, pending the outcome from related suits elsewhere.
  • Texas #1  In January 2009, in J.B. and H.B. vs. Dallas County, TX, the plaintiffs sought to dissolve their MA marriage.  In September 2009, the district court ruled that the state’s marriage ban amendment was unconstitutional, and that same-gender divorce was possible.  In August 2010, the state court of appeals overturned that decision.  In March 2011, the plaintiffs appealed to the state Supreme Court.
  • Texas #2  A similar same-gender divorce case that originated in Austin, TX is also awaiting action at the TX Supreme Court.
  • Texas #3  On 7 May 2013, in Carolyn Compton v. Joshua Compton, Carolyn was told by Collin County, Texas Judge John Roach, Jr. that her lesbian partner, Page Price, must move out of Compton's home, or Compton will lose custody of her children.
  • Texas #4  In October 2011, William Flowers appealed a decision by a Houston, TX judge that he cant leave his children alone with his husband, Jim Evans, because the husband is not related by blood or adoption.  Oral arguments were heard in November 2012.
  • Utah  On 25 March 2013, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Attorney General John Swallow, et al., 3 couples filed a federal lawsuit against challenging Utah’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage.  The plaintiffs are one gay couple, one lesbian couple, and a second lesbian couple whose IA marriage is ignored by UT.
  • Wisconsin  On 17 September 2012, in Julaine Appling, et al., v. James Doyle, et al., the WI Supreme Court declined to review a case challenging the state’s 2009 domestic partnership law, and upheld a lower court’s ruling that that law does not violate the state’s 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender marriage, because domestic partnership offers only 41 of the 200 rights that come with full marriage.  The case returned to the 4th District Court of Appeals for a hearing, and on 21 December 2012, the WI Court of Appeals upheld as constitutional the state’s 2009 Domestic Partner Registry law, and rejected arguments of the anti-LGBT group Wisconsin Family Action as “nonsense.”  WFA appealed again.  On 14 June 2013, the WI Supreme Court agreed to review the case.


Christian Reviewer said...

I hope all is well with you two. Would love to talk to both of you. Haven't had a chance to talk to either of ye and miss Sophia.


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