Supreme Court

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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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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Marriage Equality Is a National Issue, And So the Time Has Come for Our National Court to Address It

The Supreme Court has been reluctant to jump into the question of same-sex marriage, preferring to let the issue percolate through state-by-state litigation in the lower federal courts.  But the time has come for the justices to come out of hiding.  The denial of marriage equality is a national problem, not a state-level problem, and it requires a national resolution that only our nation’s constitutional court can provide. Read more »

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Clock ticking as Religious Freedom Restoration Act awaits action in Michigan Senate

Clock ticking as Religious Freedom Restoration Act awaits action in Michigan Senate

The fate of a House-approvedReligious Freedom Restoration Act remains uncertain in the Michigan Senate, which is scheduled to meet just four more times this week before ending the 2013-14 session.

Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said Thursday that the Senate may take up the measure “if we have time.” And while he indicated there may be appetite among his fellow Republicans, he also made clear the upper chamber is looking at a pretty full plate.

“That’s a relatively new thing to our caucus, so I’m not going to let things leapfrog to the front of the agenda, the prioritized agenda, unless I get a clamoring for it,” Richardville said. Read more »

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What If: Lawmakers pass another SB 1062?

What If: Lawmakers pass another SB 1062?

What If: Two lawmakers weigh the pros and cons of another religious-liberty bill.

Speculation abounds that lawmakers will try to pass another bill like Senate Bill 1062, described by supporters as religious-liberty measure and by opponents as a denial of service to gays.

We asked two experts: What would happen if the Legislature passes another SB 1062?

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WE'D PROTECT RIGHTS

It's not hard to imagine what Arizona would look like if SB 1062 had been signed into law earlier this year, or if it were to ever come up again: It would look very similar to how Arizona — and the nation — look today. Read more »

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BREAKING: Marriage Equality Comes to South Carolina

BREAKING: Marriage Equality Comes to South Carolina

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday morning denied the state of South Carolina's request for a stay on a ruling that struck down the state's ban on marriage equality, meaning same-sex couples should now be free to marry in the state. 

In a two-sentence order without additional explanation, Chief Justice John Roberts denied the request from South Carolina's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, to place on hold aNovember 12 ruling that found the state's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The order did note that Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have granted the stay.  Read more »

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Gay marriage’s long and messy road: What we misunderstand about this tortured legal saga

Gay marriage’s long and messy road: What we misunderstand about this tortured legal saga

Nearly 10 years ago, on the heels of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage in the state, gay-rights advocates faced a strategic decision. With the Legislature about to consider a constitutional amendment reining in the court’s decision, they could either push legislators to back civil unions as a compromise or face the full wrath of the opposition.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for LGBT-rights group Freedom to Marry, called Los Angeles City Councilman (now mayor) Eric Garcetti to ask for advice. “Fight for love,” Garcetti said. Civil unions were about legal status, about “rights”; marriage was about love. Read more »

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U.S. Supreme Court Clears Gay Marriage to Start in Kansas

U.S. Supreme Court Clears Gay Marriage to Start in Kansas

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared Kansas to become the 33rd state with same-sex marriage, turning away a bid by state officials who sought to stop the weddings while a legal fight plays out.

The action comes as both sides in the fast-moving battle prepare for the possibility that the court will take up the issue next year and consider legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Today’s rebuff, which came without explanation, tracks similar Supreme Court orders that let gay marriage start in Idaho and Alaska in recent weeks. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the request and blocked gay marriages in Kansas. Read more »

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U.S. justice temporarily blocks gay marriage in Kansas

U.S. justice temporarily blocks gay marriage in Kansas

 A U.S. Supreme justice on Monday temporarily blocked gay marriage in Kansas a day before it was due to go into effect.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an order saying that the court wanted gay marriage advocates to respond to the state’s application seeking to put gay marriage on hold. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree struck down the state’s gay marriage ban last week, ruling that it would go into effect on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time (2300 GMT) if no other court intervened.

Sotomayor's action does not mean the high court will grant the Kansas application. Read more »

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BREAKING: Marriage Equality Just Got A First Class Ticket To The Supreme Court

BREAKING: Marriage Equality Just Got A First Class Ticket To The Supreme Court

On Thursday afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit just became the first federal appeals court in the country to side with marriage discrimination. Although the immediate effect of this court’s 2-1 decision is that marriage equality will not quickly become the law in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, the most important consequence of the Sixth Circuit’s holding is that there is now a “circuit split” on the question of whether same-sex couples must be allowed to marry under the Constitution. A circuit split, which occurs when two or more federal appeals courts disagree on the same question of law, is one of the most common reasons that the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case. Read more »

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