same-sex marriage

‘Relationship with Jesus’ doesn’t justify florist’s refusal to serve gay couple, judge rules

A Washington state florist who refused to provide flower arrangements for a gay wedding “because of [her] relationship with Jesus” violated the state’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws, a judgeruled Wednesday.

“Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” Benton County Superior Court Judge Alexander C. Ekstrom said in his 60-page opinion. “In trade and commerce, and more particularly when seeking to prevent discrimination in public accommodations, the courts have confirmed the power of the legislative branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory, even where the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief.” Read more »

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Texas Judge Rules State Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

Texas Judge Rules State Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

A Texas probate judge ruled Tuesday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The ruling, by Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman, was part of an estate battle, according to the Austin-American Statesman. An Austin woman sought to have her eight-year relationship with a woman who died of cancer in June recognized as a common-law marriage.

“Oh, we had a marriage. It was definitely a marriage,” Sonemaly Phrasavath, the woman challenging the state's ban, told KXAN late last year. “We carried ourselves as such. She was in every sense my wife and vice versa.” Read more »

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Conservatives Seize On Hugely Flawed Study About Same-Sex Parents

Conservatives Seize On Hugely Flawed Study About Same-Sex Parents

Conservatives are excitedly promoting a new study that supposedly reveals negative outcomes for the children of same-sex parents. Like the infamously flawed Mark Regnerus study rushed out two years ago, the new study seems timed to impact the Supreme Court’s upcoming consideration of marriage equality for same-sex couples. It suffers, however, from some of the same flaws and biases as Regnerus’ study, and doesn’t actually support the argument against marriage equality that it tries to make. Read more »

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The Mormon Church Comes Out In Favor Of LGBT Rights -- Kind Of

The Mormon Church Comes Out In Favor Of LGBT Rights -- Kind Of

The Mormon church announced a campaign Tuesday for new laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination while somehow also protecting people who assert their religious beliefs.

"We must find ways to show respect for others whose beliefs, values and behaviors differ from ours while never being forced to deny or abandon our own beliefs, values and behaviors in the process," a church elder, Jeffrey R. Holland, said in announcing the church's position. Read more »

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Taking Up Gay Marriage, but on Its Own Terms

Taking Up Gay Marriage, but on Its Own Terms

The first page of a petition seeking Supreme Court review is the most important. It sets out the “question presented,” the one the court will answer if it takes the case.

The justices do not ordinarily tinker with the wording of those questions. But on Friday something unusual happened: In agreeing to hear four same-sex marriage cases, the court framed for itself the issues it would address.

Lawyers and scholars scrutinized the court’s order with the anxious intensity of hypochondriacs attending their symptoms. Some saw an attempt by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to elicit a ruling that would stop short of establishing a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Read more »

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Pope Calls Same-Sex Marriage a 'Threat' to the Family

Pope Calls Same-Sex Marriage a 'Threat' to the Family

Pope Francis, much lauded for shifting the Catholic church’s tone on LGBT issues, struck a less conciliatory note in a speech he made today in Manila, the Philippines, where he said that the “family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.” These forces, he said, are attempting the “ideological colonization of the family.”

According to Crux, a Boston Globe blog covering Catholic issues, the Vatican confirmed that the pontiff was alluding to same-sex marriage. Read more »

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Supreme Court to Decide Whether Gays Nationwide Can Marry

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Gays Nationwide Can Marry

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether all 50 states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The court’s announcement made it likely that it would resolve one of the great civil rights questions of the age before its current term ends in June.

The justices ducked the issue in October, refusing to hear appeals from rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five states. That surprise action delivered a tacit victory for gay rights, immediately expanding the number of states with same-sex marriage to 24 from 19, along with the District of Columbia. Read more »

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Mormon Church Threatens Critic With Excommunication

Mormon Church Threatens Critic With Excommunication

Mormon leaders have moved to excommunicate the prominent founder of an online forum for questioning Mormons, charging him with apostasy for publicly supporting same-sex marriage and the ordination of women, and for challenging church teaching.

John P. Dehlin, 45, host of the “Mormon Stories” website and podcast — a hub of discussion for thousands of skeptical Mormons — said that his regional church leader confirmed on Wednesday that a disciplinary hearing had been scheduled for Jan. 25. Mr. Dehlin said he was told he would be disciplined and probably excommunicated if he refused to remove podcasts that are critical of the church and to disavow his support for women’s ordination andsame-sex marriage. Read more »

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Marriage equality heads into Arizona lawbooks, but voters still have last word (again)

Marriage equality heads into Arizona lawbooks, but voters still have last word (again)

A new law proposed by 13 co-sponsors will put marriage equality into Arizona lawbooks – provided voters repeal the unconstitutional 2008 voter-enacted amendment. House Bill 2117 repeals a 1996 statute banning same-sex marriage.

The legislative-passed language was bolstered by Proposition 102, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The conundrum is that voters changed the Arizona constitution and the constitution requires a people's vote to be changed.Kaine Fisher, partner and director of Family Law for the Rose Law Group, says that the state statute can't become effective unless voters reverse their position on marriage equality. Read more »

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Does Saks Have the Legal Right to Fire a Transgender Employee?

Does Saks Have the Legal Right to Fire a Transgender Employee?

A former employee of Saks & Co. is taking the luxury retail store to court in Texas, claiming that she was discriminated against for being transgender.

Leyth Jamal says she was belittled by coworkers, forced to use the men’s room and repeatedly referred to by male pronouns (he and him) before ultimately being fired. The company responded in late December with a motion for the federal court to dismiss the case. In it, Saks’ lawyers don’t spend much time on any specific claims about mistreatment, instead arguing that transgender people simply aren’t protected by federal non-discrimination laws. Read more »

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