Although the Supreme Court last week ruled gay marriage bans unconstitutional, the Alabama Supreme Court on Monday effectively ordered probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses for 25 days. The state’s Supreme Court picked this amount of time because, technically, there is a 25-day period to file a petition to rehear the U.S. Supreme Court case.
However, regardless of any petition period, Alabama must follow the law as set by the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest in the land. For this reason, the Alabama court’s order is confusing.
LOS ANGELES — California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a state court Wednesday for an order allowing her to avoid processing a citizen-proposed anti-gay ballot measure that calls for executing gays with “bullets to the head.”
Harris said the so-called “Sodomite Suppression Act” proposed and named by Huntington Beach attorney Matthew McLaughlin “not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible and has no place in a civil society.”
She filed an action asking the court for declaratory relief’ and judicial authorization allowing her to avoid issuing a title and summary for the proposal. An official state title and summary are necessary steps in authorizing a ballot initiative’s sponsors to seek the signatures needed to be placed before voters.
Without the court order, Harris said she would be compelled by law to proceed with the measure, which would authorize the killing of gays and lesbians in the state.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law on Thursday morning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a political move business leaders within the state had voiced fierce opposition to in the days surrounding the Indiana legislature’s passage of the bill on Monday and it being sent to the governor for his signature.
The new law allows businesses to use an owner’s faith as a reason to refuse service to customers, including same-sex married couples. The risks from the act range from potential workplace lawsuits on religious grounds to a broader and deeper business chill in the Hoosier State, with money-making conferences and major corporations threatening to pull out, difficulty attracting key job creators like tech sector companies and a wide-ranging ripple effect on small-business owners.
The governor’s move comes during a sensitive period of time for Indiana’s economy—it has shown signs of a small-business boom in recent years, and has fared relatively well in job creation and new-company formation, but is also seeking to break out from the sluggish growth that has typified the post-crisis economic recovery
It was a moment of stark contrasts the other day at the Dade County Courthouse: gay vs. straight, well-to-do vs. working class, secular humanists vs. evangelicals, gay lovers vs. homophobes.
What brought them together physically and separated them philosophically was gay marriage. More than 200 people — hard-core supporters and opponents of gay marriage — tried to jam into historic old Courtroom 6-1, where Judge Sarah Zabel was to hold a hearing. So many spectators they had to open an adjacent courtroom outfitted with a large TV. It was there that the anti-gay-marriage group, wearing Respect My Vote signs, broke into Amazing Grace. They were answered by the pro-gay-marriage group, which began chanting, “Marriage equality, marriage equality.” Police moved in to defuse the demonstration, but the passions on this issue will not soon be quelled.
The tide is running fast in favor of same-sex marriage. It has been since the Supreme Court last year struck down key provisions of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. The court said that all states, even those with gay-marriage bans, must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it’s legal. Since that ruling, some 23 courts have struck down state bans as unconstitutional.
The judges — of all political stripes and persuasions — have ruled the bans violate the Constitution’s equal-protection and due-process clauses. And those guarantees trump voter-approved bans.
In half a dozen states, the attorneys general chose not to defend the bans in court because they saw the handwriting on the wall (and the court orders) and concluded they’d lose. In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi sat on the sidelines for several months, but finally announced a few weeks before the Miami-Dade hearing that she would defend Florida’s ban. In her court filings, Bondi said that, “Disrupting Florida’s existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm.” She failed to say exactly what the harm would be because there would be none. Still, Bondi’s arguments got a big thumbs-up from groups such as the Christian Family Coalition of Miami, which praised Bondi for being “on the right side of history.”
But she’s not.
The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously affirmed on Thursday the right of same-sex partners to marry in the state, reasoning that the “protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally” to them and to opposite-sex couples.
With the ruling, which takes effect immediately, New Mexico becomes one of 17 states and the District of Columbia to permit same-sex marriage. (Thirty-three states limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and 10 recognize civil unions and partnerships.)
Lawmakers approved gay marriage Tuesday in a historic vote that saw supporters overcome cultural, racial and geographic divides and put Illinois in line with a growing number of states that have extended the right to wed to same-sex couples.
After more than a year of intense lobbying by both sides, gay lawmakers made emotional pleas to colleagues to give their families equal rights even as opponents argued that doing so would unravel the foundation of society.
“At the end of the day, what this bill is about is love, it’s about family, it’s about commitment,” said sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, clutching an American flag he said was sent by a supportive soldier stationed in Afghanistan.
“At the end of the day, this bill is about the vision that the founders of our country had and wrote into our Constitution, where they said America is a journey. … And we’ll continue to walk down that road to make America a better place, to make ourselves a ‘more perfect union,’ to ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” the Chicago Democrat said.
Gov. Pat Quinn said he intends to sign the bill, which would take effect June 1
HONOLULU — After more than 55 hours of testimony, the joint House committees voted Tuesday to pass Hawaii’s marriage equality bill, Senate Bill 1. The House Judiciary Committee and Finance Committee voted 18 to 12. The bill now goes to the full House for a final vote.
The vote comes during a special session called by Gov. Abercrombie for Hawaii’s marriage equality bill, and after a Senate hearing by the Committee of Judiciary and Labor and a full Senate vote to send the bill to the House.
Before they voted, the House committees amended Senate Bill 1 to broaden a religious exemption that allows religious leaders to refuse service for same-sex marriage ceremonies and moved the effective date from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2.
REPORT FROM THE STATE SENATE MAJORITY- The Hawaii State Senate today passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii.
“The Senate’s passage of this bill marks an historic step towards equality, fairness, and justice,” said Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “I look forward to working with our colleagues in the House as this measure moves forward.”
Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.
“This measure represents the Senate’s best effort to strike a balance between religious freedom and equal rights,” said Senator Hee. “Language has been included that preserves the sincerely held religious beliefs of religious organizations.”