Supreme Court

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Republican Governors Soften Rhetoric On Gay Marriage

Republican Governors Soften Rhetoric On Gay Marriage

Deep in the nation's Bible Belt, new signs emerged this weekend of an evolution among Republican governors on gay marriage, an explosive social issue that has divided America's families and politics for years.

While the Republican Party's religious conservatives continue to fight against same-sex marriage, its governors appear to be backing off their opposition— in their rhetoric, at least. For some, the shift may be more a matter of tone than substance as the GOP tries to attract new voters ahead of the midterm elections. Nonetheless, it is dramatic turn for a party that has long been defined by social conservative values. Read more »

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Utah To Appeal Gay Marriage Ban Ruling With Supreme Court

Utah To Appeal Gay Marriage Ban Ruling With Supreme Court

 Utah is going directly to the nation's highest court to challenge an appellate ruling that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, the state attorney general's office announced Wednesday.

If the U.S. Supreme court decides to take the case, it will be the first time the top court considers gay marriage since justices last year struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"It is a milestone that when the Supreme Court reconvenes in October, there will be at least one (gay marriage) petition pending," said Jon Davidson, director of Lambda Legal, which pursues litigation on LGBT issues nationwide. Read more »

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Gay rights group withdraws support for ENDA in light of Hobby Lobby ruling

Gay rights group withdraws support for ENDA in light of Hobby Lobby ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling prompted a gay rights group to withdraw its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Religious organizations and businesses with fewer than 15 employees are exempt from ENDA, which passed the Senate last year but has gone nowhere in the House. Read more »

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What the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision Means for LGBT People

What the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision Means for LGBT People

PART I—Has the Court turned the clock back half a century? 

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the right of individuals to access birth control despite the opposition of some religious sects. Since then, mainstream attitudes have changed. But fundamentalist religious views about reproductive health and sexuality still influence our politics and law. Read more »

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SCOTUS Approves California Ban on Conversion Therapy

SCOTUS Approves California Ban on Conversion Therapy

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially upheld a California law banning psychological counseling aimed at converting LGBT minors.

The justices declined to take the case brought by supporters of  “reparative therapy.” A standing appeals-court ruling from August 2013said that the ban applied to professional practices that are within the state’s authority to regulate and doesn’t violate the free-speech rights of licensed counselors and patients seeking treatment. Read more »

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In Wreckage Of Supreme Court Decision, Gay Rights Groups See Hope

In Wreckage Of Supreme Court Decision, Gay Rights Groups See Hope

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on religious freedom was a blow to progressives, but leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups see a silver lining when it comes to workplace protections.

In a limited manner, the high court ruled that for-profit companies can claim areligious exemption to the Obamacare requirement that they provide health insurance coverage for birth control. LGBT rights groups have been waiting for this ruling to gauge how, and if, President Barack Obama will proceed with an executive order banning job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by federal contractors. Read more »

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