Supreme Court

Court Adds Gay Marriage to Sept. 29 Agenda

Court Adds Gay Marriage to Sept. 29 Agenda

The Supreme Court has formally added gay marriage cases to the justices' agenda for their closed-door conference on Sept. 29.

The action Wednesday does not mean that the court will decide that day to hear state appeals of lower court rulings that struck down bans on same-sex marriage. But the late September conference will be the first time the justices have the issue before them. The meeting will be the justices' first since late June.

Appeals have been filed from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The gay couples who won in each case in the lower courts also favor Supreme Court review.

The justices could put off deciding whether to take up gay marriage until January and still be able to issue a decision by late June.

shadow

9th Circuit gets 3 cases on same-sex marriage

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will hear arguments today in three cases challenging restrictions on same-sex marriage.

And while none of the cases are from Arizona, the court's ruling on those cases will apply to the state.

The odds are stacked against an Arizona law that defines marriage as between only one man and one woman.

Arizona is among 31 states that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.

Judges in more than a dozen of those states, including three federal appeals-court circuits, have struck down bans like Arizona's.

The 9th Circuit is widely considered the most liberal in the nation. Read more »

shadow

9th Circuit asks tough questions of gay-marriage bans

9th Circuit asks tough questions of gay-marriage bans

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today pummeled the defenders of three state laws that forbid same-sex couples from marrying.

The cases being heard by a three-judge panel were filed in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. Arizona is part of the San Francisco-based 9th circuit, so any ruling will apply to this state as well. The laws being challenged are similar to Arizona's, which defines marriage as between only one man and one woman.

Attorney Monte Stewart, with the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, defended the Idaho and Nevada laws before the court. He focused on the argument that allowing "genderless marriage" would lead to an increase in fatherless children and undermine what he called the child's "bonding right." Read more »

shadow

Appeals Court Strikes Down Wisconsin, Indiana Gay Marriage Bans As Unconstitutional

 A U.S. appeals court issued a scathing, unequivocal ruling Thursday declaring that gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana were unconstitutional, on the same day that 32 states asked the Supreme Court to settle the issue once and for all.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago was the fourth to hear arguments on the issue. The decision from a normally slow and deliberative court was released a little more than a week after oral arguments.

The unanimous, 40-page decision from a three-judge panel blasted the states' justifications for their bans, several times singling out the argument that only marriage between a man and a woman should be allowed because it's — simply — tradition. Read more »

shadow

U.S. court rejects gay-marriage bans as 'implausible'

U.S. court rejects gay-marriage bans as 'implausible'

A U.S. appeals court judge known for his outspoken views described arguments by Wisconsin and Indiana defending bans on gay marriage as "totally implausible" on Thursday, in a ruling in favor of same-sex couples.

Judge Richard Posner, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1981, wrote the unanimous decision on behalf of a three-judge panel of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled against the bans.

The unusually swift decision, issued just over a week after the court heard oral arguments in two different cases, does not take immediate effect and is unlikely do so until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in during its coming term. Read more »

shadow

Gay marriage: Which case will the Supreme Court choose?

Gay marriage: Which case will the Supreme Court choose?

 It's getting so you can't tell the potential Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage without a scorecard.

When the justices sit down for their first fall conference Sept. 29, they will consider the initial requests from states to review decisions striking down gay-marriage bans. Unless they quickly agree to hear one or more cases, those petitions won't be the last.

Lawyers on both sides predict the justices will act soon to decide the issue by next June. That makes it likely they will choose from among the three cases pending. Some of the nation's premier Supreme Court advocates, sensing history in the making, have signed on to represent gay couples or state officials. Read more »

shadow

Big businesses still fighting for same-sex marriage

Big businesses still fighting for same-sex marriage

For many of the nation's largest businesses, the fight for same-sex marriage didn't end when the Supreme Court decided to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act last year.

While the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriage, individual states still get to make their own rules. And since many states continue to prohibit it, navigating through this patchwork of laws can be extremely complicated for national companies. Read more »

shadow

Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban

Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban

A federal appeals court panel in Virginia became the second one this summer to strike down a state ban against same-sex marriage Monday, making it more likely that the Supreme Court will settle the issue as early as next year.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond ruled 2-1 that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry that is paramount to state marriage laws.

The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel's decision can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court. Read more »

shadow

Senate Republicans Block Bill To Reverse Hobby Lobby Decision

Senate Republicans Block Bill To Reverse Hobby Lobby Decision

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill that would have required all for-profit employers to include the full range of contraceptives in their health insurance plans, in effect overriding the Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

The Senate voted 56 to 43 to proceed to debate on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move forward. Three Republicans-- Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) -- voted with Senate Democrats to proceed. Read more »

shadow
Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton urges Congressional action to counter Hobby Lobby decision

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has joined with several other mayors from across the U.S. to urge Congressional leaders to create legislation to counteract the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision.

In a joint letter to Congress, the mayors call for legislation to safeguard against possible repercussions of the recent Court decision that “could undermine basic anti-discrimination laws and protections of individual liberties at the federal, state and local levels.”

The mayors also warn of some groups that have already begun to use the decision to challenge anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing and public accommodation. Read more »

shadow