Shoe shopping is definitely more fun than dating. You find a lot more matches.
After a series of state district courts in Florida ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a federal District Court judge came to the same determination today.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled today that the Florida ban violates the “due process” and “equal protection” provisions in the U.S. Constitution. The state’s ban was first put into law in 1977 and then written into the state’s constitution after a 2008 referendum. Judge Hinkle’s ruling applies both to whether same-sex couples can marry in Florida as well as whether their marriages elsewhere should be recognized in the Sunshine State.
In his ruling, Hinkle writes,
The founders of this nation said in the preamble to the United States Constitution that a goal was to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. Liberty has come more slowly for some than for others. It was 1967, nearly two centuries after the Constitution was adopted, before the Supreme Court struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage, thus protecting the liberty of individuals whose chosen life partner was of a different race. Now, nearly 50 years later, the arguments supporting the ban on interracial marriage seem an obvious pretext for racism; it must be hard for those who were not then of age to understand just how sincerely those views were held. When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination. Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.
He also writes, “The Florida provisions that prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully entered elsewhere, like the federal provision, are unconstitutional. So is the Florida ban on entering same-sex marriages.”
Hinkle’s immediately stayed his ruling pending a likely appeal.
Regarding “open” relationships:
When did the standard you + me turn into ‘us + him’?
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry today, upholding a marriage ruling out of Virginia from February. The landmark ruling follows a similar ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that banning same-sex couples from marriage in Utah and Oklahoma is unconstitutional. It is the 29th consecutive ruling in favor of marriage for same-sex couples in the past year.
The decision reads:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
The 4th Circuit opinion also will affect marriage laws in other states within its jurisdiction, including West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina; however, separate orders would have to be issued for affected states in the region outside Virginia.
Gay and lesbian couples in Virginia cannot marry in the state for at least another three weeks, giving the time for another appeal to be filed on enforcement. The decision on an appeal is not clear as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Virginia’s attorney general have refused to defend the ban in court as is tradition, leaving it to other state officials to make the case.
Yesterday, another judge in Florida overturned that state’s ban on same-sex marriage – this time in Miami-Dade County. It is the second such ruling in florida after Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia struck down the ban for the Florida Keys. Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel found the constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008 discriminates against gay people, saying it violates their right to equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. She writes,
Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest. It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.
Garcia’s earlier ruling was put on hold when Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi filed notice of appeal. Zabel also stayed the effect of her ruling indefinitely to allow time for appeals, which could take months, and Bondi promptly followed up Friday by filing an appeal notice in the Miami-Dade case.
Both judges were appointed by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush and have been re-elected.
The legal battleground will next shift to the Miami-based 3rd District Court of Appeal for both cases, and most likely after that to the state Supreme Court.
Earlier today, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore ruled against Colorado’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. His ruling has been stayed until August 25 to allow the state time to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the same court which has already struck down bans on marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma.
Moore’s ruling is particularly important for Colorado, where clerks in several counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after lower court rulings that deemed marriage bans unconstitutional. The Colorado Supreme Court last week ordered Denver County clerks to stop issuing the marriage licenses, however today the same court declined the state’s request to force the Boulder County clerk to stop issued licenses.
The state of Colorado has not yet indicated whether it plans to appeal Judge Moore’s decision.
This is starting to become redundant, but the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued another ruling today, affirming the decision by US District Judge Terence Kern, that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marraige violates the US Constitution. The 2-1 decision was authored by Judge Carlos Lucero, who was joined by Judge Jerome Holmes – a President George W. Bush appointee.
The same court previously affirmed a similar ruling regarding the state of Utah’s marriage ban.
Same-sex marriages will be put on hold pending an appeal by the state of Oklahoma. The state now has the option to request an en banc appeal before the full bench of the Tenth Circuit, which decides whether or not to grant that request. It may also bypass an en banc session and appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Utah attorney general announced earlier this month that he would appeal the Tenth Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
Earlier today, a judge in a state court struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, deeming the ban unconstitutional.
Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ordered the Monroe County Clerk to stop enforcing Florida’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment, saying that marriage licenses should begin being issued in Monroe County on July 22.
In his ruling, Judge Garcia writes:
It is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority. … The Constitution guarantees and protects all of its citizens from government interference with those rights. All laws passed by the legislature or by popular support must pass the scrutiny of the United States Constitution, to do otherwise diminishes the Constitution to just a historical piece of paper.
Of note – the ruling only applies to Monroe County, home to the Florida Keys.
A District Court judge today struck down Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage, marking the 24th consecutive ruling in favor of the freedom to marry (with no rulings against) since June 2013. The ruling has been stayed for now, pending an appeal.
In the ruling, District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree explained how civil union – which Colorado has had in effect since 2013 – is a lesser, unequal form of family status that does not compare to marriage. He writes:
The fact that the State has created two classes of legally recognized relationships, marriages and civil unions, is compelling evidence they are not the same. If civil unions were truly the same as marriages, they would be called marriages and not civil unions. If they were the same, there would be no need for both of them. The fact that Colorado denies same gender couples the same right to apply for federal benefits that it grants to opposite gender couples is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
In other marriage equality news, Utah’s Attorney General will be filing an appeal of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recent decision to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Attorney General Sean Reyes will be filing the appeal directly to the US Supreme Court rather than asking for a review by the entire 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the appeal.
Marriage equality moved into another southern state today when U.S. District Judge John Heyburn struck down Kentucky’s constitutional amendment ban on same-sex marriage.
Judge Heyburn had previously struck down the portion of the marriage ban in Kentucky that denies respect to same-sex couples who legally married in other states.
In addition to the marriage equality news out of Indiana, the three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled 2-1 that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. Federal trial court judge Carlos Lucero previously struck down the ban in December 2013.
With their ruling, the appeals courts becomes the first appellate ruling on marriage equality since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. In their ruling, the judges wrote,
Having heard and carefully considered the argument of the litigants, we conclude that, consistent with the United States Constitution, the State of Utah may not do so. We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm.
The judges put their ruling on hold in the event that it will be appealed, which is anticipated from the state of Utah. The judges have not yet issued a ruling in a similar case in Oklahoma.
A major marriage equality victory was handed down today in the Midwest, with a judge in Indiana ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
The ruling comes from U.S. District Judge Richard Young, who states the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause. The ruling involved multiple lawsuits from several gay couples.
The Indiana State Attorney General is expected to appeal the ruling.
One day someone will walk into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else.
Yesterday, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality is unconstitutional. With US District Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling, Wisconsin becomes the twelfth state to see marriage bans struck down since the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling last June.
In her ruling, Judge Crabb wrote, “Because my review of that law convinces me that plaintiffs are entitled to the same treatment as any heterosexual couple, I conclude that the Wisconsin laws banning marriage between same-sex couples are unconstitutional.” She goes on to write,
In 1954, in what likely was one of the first cases explicitly addressing issues involving gay persons, a federal district court denied a claim involving censorship of a gay news magazine, stating that the court “rejected” the “suggestion that homosexuals should be recognized as a segment of our people.” [...] In light of Windsor and the many decisions that have invalidated restrictions on same-sex marriage since Windsor, it appears that courts are moving toward a consensus that it is time to embrace full legal equality for gay and lesbian citizens. Perhaps it is no coincidence that these decisions are coming at a time when public opinion is moving quickly in the direction of support for same sex marriage. [...] Perhaps it is true that the Wisconsin legislature and voters would choose to repeal the marriage amendment and amend the statuatory marriage laws to be inclusive of same-sex couples at some point in the future. [...] Regardless, a district court may not abstain from deciding a case because of the possibility that the issues raised in the case could be resolved in some other way at some other time. [...] Because my review of the law convinces me that plaintiffs are entitled to the same treatment as any heterosexual couple, I conclude that the Wisconsin laws banning marriage between same-sex couples are unconstitutional.
The Wisconsin state attorney general J.B. Van Hollen filed a motion in court earlier this month asking the judge to stay her decision if she rules in favor of the plaintiffs. Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples shortly after the judge’s ruling yesterday. Judge Crabb will decide next week whether to put her decision on hold while it is appealed.
You don’t lose friends because real friends can never be lost. You lose people masquerading as friends, and you’re better for it.
Excerpts from Judge Jones’ ruling in Whitewood v Wolf. Beautiful…
“Today, certain citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are not guaranteed the right to marry the person they love. Nor does Pennsylvania recognize the marriages of other couples who have wed elsewhere. Hoping to end this injustice, eleven courageous lesbian and gay couples, one widow, and two teenage children of one of the aforesaid couples have come together as plaintiffs
and asked this Court to declare that all Pennsylvanians have the right to marry the person of their choice and consequently, that the Commonwealth’s laws to the contrary are unconstitutional. We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage.”
“With the weight and impetus of the foregoing Supreme Court jurisprudence in mind, this Court is not only moved by the logic that the fundamental right to marry is a personal right to be exercised by the individual, but also rejects Defendants’ contention that concepts of history and tradition dictate that same-sex marriage is excluded from the fundamental right to marry. The right Plaintiffs seek to exercise is not a new right, but is rather a right that these individuals have always been guaranteed by the United States Constitution.“
“Based on the foregoing, we hold that Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws violate both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because these laws are unconstitutional, we shall enter an order permanently enjoining their enforcement. By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.”
“The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make it’s prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded doctrine of ‘separate but equal’. In the sixty years since Brown was decided, ‘separate’ has thankfully faded into history, and only ‘equal’ remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.”
“We are better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”