same-sex couples

TODAY: Tenth Circuit to hear argument in Utah marriage case

Today, barely a year after being filed in federal court and just months after a ruling by that court, a challenge to Utah’s ban on marriage equality, Kitchen v. Herbert,will be heard by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Next week, on Thursday, April 17, the same panel will preside over a similar case out of Oklahoma, Bishop v. United States. Read more »

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At a time when we should be celebrating the imminent end of discrimination against same-sex couples, we're gearing up to fight another effort to discriminate against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Oregon, once again, is the state where the opposition is focusing its efforts.

In substance, the proposed law in Oregon is almost identical to the bill Arizona's governor recently vetoed. The Oregon version of the law would allow businesses to turn people away because of who they are and whom they love. Treating people differently because of who they are is discrimination. Read more »

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Obama Administration Orders Some Insurers To Cover Gay Spouses

Obama Administration Orders Some Insurers To Cover Gay Spouses

Legally married same-sex couples just gained a little more recognition in the eyes of the federal government.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that, starting with the 2015 plan year, insurance companies that provide coverage to opposite-sex spouses must also offer that coverage to same-sex spouses.

"In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage," Matthew Heinz, the director of LGBT outreach at HHS, wrote in a blog post. Read more »

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Ky. to Use Outside Counsel in Gay-Marriage Case

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal a decision granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married in other states and countries after the attorney general announced that he would not pursue the case further.

The split legal decisions from two Democrats come four days after a federal judge in Louisville gave the state 21 days to implement a ruling overturning a voter-imposed ban on recognizing same-sex unions.

Conway said at a news conference that he decided he would not appeal the case because "I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do." Read more »

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New poll: The Arizona veto

New poll: The Arizona veto

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week vetoed SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service based on religious grounds. Proponents of the bill claimed it was intended simply to protect people of faith from being forced to violate their beliefs as the cost of doing business. Opponents said it opened the door to discrimination against same-sex couples and religious minorities. The state's business community also complained that the bill would have hurt tourism and interstate commerce. What do you think? This week's question: Was Gov. Brewer right to veto SB 1062? Cast your vote below, and we welcome your comments and suggestions atpolitics@smartbrief.com. We'll post the results on Friday. Read more »

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Majority of Americans now support gay marriage, survey finds

Majority of Americans now support gay marriage, survey finds

Support for gay marriage has surged in the United States in the decade since it first became legal in Massachusetts, with just over half of Americans now supporting the idea, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The survey on attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people comes as U.S. lawmakers and courts are increasingly allowing same-sex couples to wed.

Some 53 percent of the 4,509 Americans surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute said they supported gay marriage, up from 32 percent in 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize it.

PRRI Chief Executive Robert Jones said the poll joined a raft of other surveys showing that a majority of Americans back gay marriage. Read more »

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Georgia, Mississippi Backtrack On Bills Mirroring Arizona Anti-Gay Legislation

Georgia, Mississippi Backtrack On Bills Mirroring Arizona Anti-Gay Legislation

After a national uproar over controversial "religious freedom" legislation in Arizona, Georgia and Mississippi have now backtracked on similar bills, joining other states where such measures have failed due to concerns that they would be discriminatory toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

In Georgia, the "Preservation of Religious Freedom Act" has been tabled and doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Read more »

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Religious Right in Arizona Cheers Bill Allowing Businesses to Refuse to Serve Gays

Religious Right in Arizona Cheers Bill Allowing Businesses to Refuse to Serve Gays

In New Mexico, a photographer declined to take pictures of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. In Washington State, a florist would not provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. And in Colorado, a baker refused to make a cake for a party celebrating the wedding of two men.

The business owners cited religious beliefs in declining to provide services celebrating same-sex relationships. And in each case, they were sued. Read more »

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2 religion 'fixes' we don’t need

2 religion 'fixes' we don’t need

Legislation thrown together in response to a crisis almost always turns out to be heavy-handed or ineffective once it becomes a statute. Hard cases, as they say, make bad law.

But for really bad law — the kind with the potential for creating serious unintended consequences — nothing beats legislation that provides a solution for a non-existent problem.

Legislation sponsored in the House by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, and in the Senate by Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, represents a good example of the latter. Both of their bills — identical, for the time being, at least — would reframe and expand the state’s religious-expression protection laws. Read more »

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U.S. to Recognize Utah Gay Marriages Despite State Stance

U.S. to Recognize Utah Gay Marriages Despite State Stance

The Obama administration on Friday said that it would recognize as lawful the marriages of 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah, even though the state government is refusing to do so.

Wading into the fast-moving legal battle over same-sex marriage rights in one of America’s most socially conservative states, the administration posted a video on the Justice Department’s website making the announcement. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that the federal government would grant federal marriage benefits to the same-sex couples who rushed to obtain marriage licenses after a federal judge last month unexpectedly struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. Read more »

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