Supreme Court

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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After Arizona’s SB 1062, the Supreme Court Sees a Sequel

After Arizona’s SB 1062, the Supreme Court Sees a Sequel

This morning, March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two cases brought by for-profit corporations demanding special exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that large employers provide comprehensive health insurance for their workers.

For female employees, “comprehensive” insurance coverage – and gender equity – mean including birth control. But the owners of Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retail chain with about 13,000 employees, and Conestoga Wood, a cabinet and furniture manufacturer with almost 1,000 employees, claim that providing such coverage violates their religious beliefs and practices. Read more »

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Nevada Withdraws Efforts To Uphold Gay Marriage Ban

Nevada Withdraws Efforts To Uphold Gay Marriage Ban

Nevada's attorney general and governor said Monday that they won't defend the state's gay marriage ban when it goes before a federal appeals court, saying that a recent court decision makes the state's arguments supporting its constitutional amendment "no longer defensible."

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, in a motion filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Nevada's legal arguments defending the voter-approved prohibition aren't viable after the court's recent ruling that potential jurors cannot be removed from a trial during jury selection solely because of sexual orientation. Read more »

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How A Ruling On Gay Jurors Could Have A Huge Effect On The Gay Rights Movement

How A Ruling On Gay Jurors Could Have A Huge Effect On The Gay Rights Movement

In the next few weeks, AbbVie, a pharmaceutical company that produces an important AIDS drug, will make a decision that could have a far-reaching effect on gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and not just those with HIV.

If the company appeals a recent court ruling and wins, it will come as a blow to those who hope to see states around the country topple the remaining barriers both to same-sex marriage and to laws that protect gay people from discrimination. Read more »

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Why This Transgender Teen's Big Victory Matters

Why This Transgender Teen's Big Victory Matters

Wayne Maines was in a meeting when he got the call. His daughter, a transgender teenager who had been fighting the state of Maine for years over her right to use the girls' bathroom at school, had finally won.

“I just broke down right then and there,” he said.

In tears, he called his wife, who texted their daughter, Nicole. She was in a school assembly, and immediately ran to the front of the room to announce the victory. “The whole school got up and cheered,” he recounted. Read more »

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Gay-rights movement in uncharted territory

Gay-rights movement in uncharted territory

No one ever accused Stephen Reinhardt of being timid.

The 82-year-old Ninth Circuit judge – often called the most liberal judge on the nation’s most liberal federal appeals court – has made a career of pushing the envelope. He has ruled, for example, that assisted suicide is a constitutional right and that the Second Amendment doesn’t give individuals the right to own guns. And his rulings in those cases, and many others, have been reversed by the Supreme Court. Indeed, a news article called him “one of the most overturned judges in history” – and that was in 1997, 17 years and dozens of reversals ago. Read more »

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U.S. District Judge Rules Oklahoma Ban on Marriage Equality Unconstitutional

Today U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.  His ruling is stayed pending appeal, meaning marriages will not occur immediately in the Sooner State.  Read more »

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GOP Congressman Introduces Bill Limiting Recognition Of Gay Marriage

Despite the growing number of states allowing gay marriage, one Republican congressman filed legislation Thursday to limit the federal government's power to recognize gay marriages in states.

Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) introduced the "State Marriage Defense Act Of 2014," which would require federal agencies to look into a person's "legal residence" when determining marital status and how federal law would be applied. Read more »

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Utah Tells Clerks To Finish Gay Marriage Documentation, Without Guarantee Of Validity Later

Local clerks in Utah can finish paperwork for same-sex marriages completed before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary halt on Monday, the state's attorney general said Thursday.

Attorney General Sean Reyes' office issued the legal advice to county clerks Thursday afternoon.

The directive comes as Utah officials struggle with the knotty legal mess that gay marriage created in the state in recent weeks.

More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples took home marriage licenses from local clerks after a federal judge overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban on Dec. 20. Utah voters approved the ban in 2004. Read more »

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Utah Will Not Recognize Same-Sex Marriages That Have Already Been Performed: Governor's Office

The office of Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) said same-sex couples who were married after the state's ban on gay marriage was struck down, but before theSupreme Court halted gay marriages in the state, will not be recognized as legally married.

Herbert's chief of staff Derek Miller emailed the following instructions to Cabinet Members on Tuesday:

Dear Cabinet,

I'm sure you are all aware of the issuance of the stay regarding same-sex marriage in Utah from the United States Supreme Court yesterday. This stay effectively puts a hold on the decision of the district court, which found state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage in Utah to be unconstitutional. Read more »

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