TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court Puts Hold on Virginia Same-Sex Marriages

Supreme Court Blocks Virginia Gay Marriages
A guard stands on the steps of the Supreme Court Building, August 20, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Same-sex marriages could have begun as early as Thursday

The Supreme Court effectively barred same-sex couples from marrying in Virginia Wednesday after it delayed a lower court decision that would have lifted the state’s gay marriage ban. The appeals court ruling demanded that Virginia recognize out of state same-sex marriages and would have allowed same sex-couples to marry as early as Thursday morning.

Same-sex couples in Virginia must now wait until the Supreme Court decides to either decline to hear the appeal, under which the stay would be waived, or to reach a verdict of its own.

The Supreme Court did not provide an explanation for the order, which was requested by a Virginia court clerk, but it didn’t come as a surprise after it put same sex-unions on hold in Utah earlier this year.

The top plaintiff in the case, Tim Bostic, told USA Today that he preferred to hear a verdict from the Supreme Court.

“While we are disappointed that marriages will have to wait, this was not unexpected,” he said. “We feel that this case deserves to be heard by the Supreme Court and be finally decided for all Americans.”

Virginia voted in 2006 to ban gay marriage, but both of Virginia’s Democratic senators—Tim Kaine and Mark Warner—endorsed the practice last year.

 

TIME Supreme Court

High Court Blocks Same-Sex Unions in Virginia

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Same-sex couples will have to wait longer to begin marrying in Virginia after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to delay an appeals court ruling striking down the state’s gay marriage ban.

The nation’s highest court granted a request from a county clerk in northern Virginia to delay a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond that would have allowed for same-sex couples to marry beginning Thursday morning. The state would have also had to start recognizing gay marriages from out of state if the Supreme Court had denied the request. The court provided no explanation for its order.

The federal appeals court last week refused to delay its decision striking down the ban, issued in late July, while it is appealed to the high court. The appeals court’s order did not explain why it denied that request.

The Supreme Court’s decision was not unexpected, as it previously issued an order in January putting same-sex unions on hold in Utah while the federal appeals court in Denver was hearing the case. That court upheld the decision striking down Utah’s gay marriage ban, but delayed its decision from taking effect pending appeal to the Supreme Court. Most other federal court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage also have been put on hold.

Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2006 that banned gay marriage and prohibited the recognition of such marriages performed in other states.

The appeals court ruling overturning that ban was the third such ruling by a federal appeals court and the first in the South, a region where the rising tide of rulings favoring marriage equality is testing concepts of states’ rights and traditional, conservative moral values that have long held sway.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring — who has said he will not defend the state’s ban and believes the courts ruled correctly in striking it down — asked the Supreme Court earlier this month to review a lower court’s decision striking down the state’s ban. Herring said he believes the case will prove compelling to the high court because of the “stringent, discriminatory nature of Virginia’s marriage ban” and other factors.

The Virginia lawsuit was filed by Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk, who were denied a marriage license, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield County. The women were married in California and wanted their marriage recognized in the state where they are raising a 16-year-old daughter.

A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati recently considered arguments regarding six cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Some observers have said the 6th Circuit may be the first to uphold statewide gay marriage bans after more than 20 consecutive rulings in the past eight months striking them down.

TIME LGBT

Oklahoma Gay Marriage Case Appealed to High Court

Sharon Baldwin, Mary Bishop
Plaintiffs challenging Oklahoma's gay marriage ban Sharon Baldwin, left, and her partner Mary Bishop leave court following a hearing at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Brennan Linsley—AP

Utah also has appealed its overturned ban to the Supreme Court

(TULSA, Okla.) — The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is constitutional.

The appeal was filed Wednesday by an organization representing Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued after refusing to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple several years ago.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the couple last month, upholding a federal judge’s ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. However, those rulings are on hold as the case moves through the courts, meaning same-sex couples haven’t been allowed to marry in Oklahoma.

The ban was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004. The couple who sued, Sharon Baldwin and Mary Bishop, challenged the ban shortly thereafter.

Utah also has appealed its overturned ban to the Supreme Court.

TIME Retail

Target Openly Supports Gay Marriage in Legal Brief

Hackers Grab 40 Million Accounts From Target Stores
A Target store is seen on December 19, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

The major retailer has joined a group of companies in filing an amicus brief in support of gay marriage

Target announced its support for gay marriage Tuesday by signing onto an amicus brief in a case before a federal appeals court, after years of criticism for its neutrality on the issue.

“It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage,” said Target Executive Vice President Jodee Kozlak in a statement Tuesday.

The retail giant joins a group of national companies signing onto an amicus brief filed in Wisconsin’s appeal of a lower court decision that struck down that state’s gay marriage ban. A similar case in Indiana has been folded into this case.

Kozlak said Target already offers benefits to LGBT employees and families. In announcing the move, Kozlak couched the decision in both ideological and economical terms regarding the challenges created by having contradictory marriage regulations in different states.

“This position is particularly challenging for a large organization that operates nationally, such as Target,” Kozlak said. “Current laws — in places like Wisconsin and Indiana that are addressed in this brief – make it difficult to attract and retain talent … We believe that everyone – all of our team members and our guests – deserve to be treated equally. And at Target we are proud to support the LGBT community.”

TIME LGBT

Utah Petitions Supreme Court for Gay Marriage Ruling

Appeals Court Overturns Same Sex Marriage Ban In Utah
Peggy Tomsic, (C) attorney for three same-sex couples, claps in celebration after the 10th Circuit Court in Denver rejected a same-sex marriage ban in Utah on June 25, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. George Frey—Getty Images

Utah's gay marriage ban could face a final reckoning

Utah’s attorney general filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging a lower court’s decision to strike down the state’s gay marriage ban.

“My responsibility is to defend the State Constitution and its amendments as Utah citizens have enacted them,” Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement. “Utah welcomes a speedy grant of the petition and a Supreme Court merits decision, as all Utah citizens will benefit when the Supreme Court provides clear finality on the important issue of state authority to define marriage.”

The law in contention was struck down by an appeals court in June, which ruled that 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.”

Gay marriage advocates have rallied behind the case, viewing it as an opening toward legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, rather than state-by-state.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

 

TIME NFL

Pro Gay-Rights Former NFL Player Suing Vikings to Release Dismissal Report

Chris Kluwe
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, pictured in a 2012 Minnesota Vikings NFL portrait. AP

Chris Kluwe, the outspoken ex-NFL punter, plans on suing his old team, the Minnesota Vikings, for discrimination

When former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe posted an explosive article on Deadspin in January, alleging that the team dumped him for being an outspoken supporter of gay marriage, he knew his career was pretty much over.

“I’m now known as the activist punter,” Kluwe tells TIME. “So when teams are choosing between a guy who has baggage and a guy who doesn’t, then it’s usually an easy choice for the team to make.”

What Kluwe didn’t expect was that the Vikings would open an independent investigation of his claims, and then, he says, keep those findings hidden.

So Kluwe announced Tuesday that he plans to file a discrimination suit against the Vikings, unless the findings of the investigation are made public. According to Kluwe’s lawyer, Clayton Halunen, over the past few months he and the Vikings have discussed terms of a possible settlement, which included the report going public, a donation of $1 million to two LGBT charities, and a public apology from special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who allegedly said in a meeting “we should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” (Priefer was retained as an assistant by new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer).

Halunen said he talked to the investigators hired by the Vikings to probe the case, and they told him the report was finished and corroborated the gist of Kluwe’s allegations, including Priefer’s remark. On Monday afternoon, however, Halunen says he met with Vikings lawyers, and they told him the team wouldn’t release the report. “For six months, we were repeatedly told that the report would be made public,” says Halunen. “This news was very shocking.”

In a statement, the Vikings said, in part, that “in order to further maintain objectivity and integrity, the team engaged a nationally-prominent law firm — Littler Mendelson P.C. — to evaluate employment law matters and provide findings and recommendations to the Vikings. Those recommendations are to be provided to the team this week … the Vikings have never made or broken promises as Kluwe and his attorney Clayton Halunen have claimed … As we have consistently communicated throughout this process, the Vikings will have further comment when the investigation is entirely complete and the team has made determinations on next steps.” You can read the full statement here. The Vikings did not return a request for further comment. Halunen and the team’s lawyers are scheduled to meet on Thursday.

Why does Kluwe want the report to go public?

“For one, it corroborates my claims, obviously, or else they would have made it public by now,” says Kluwe. “And two, it shows the kind of atmosphere that could be allowed to happen if steps aren’t taken to correct that kind of culture. We want to make people aware that what they’re saying has consequences, and can be potentially hurtful to other people.” He also hopes the NFL can learn lessons. “Even though you are the NFL, you are still a business, and you are required to abide by the law,” Kluwe says. “You can’t say, just because this is football we don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else, which I think is very important when you’re talking about a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry that frequently takes public funds to construct stadiums and host events.”

In his Deadspin piece, Kluwe wrote, “If there’s one thing I hope to achieve from sharing this story, it’s to make sure that Mike Priefer never holds a coaching position again in the NFL.” Kluwe wants that one back.

“I was being too harsh there,” Kluwe says. “What I would like to see is coach Priefer suspended for a period of time, subject to the personal conduct policy — I mean, that’s something we all have to abide by — and then to get training and work with the LGBT groups to understand why what he did was wrong. Because that way, he can serve as a positive role model to other potential coaches or managers out there who might be thinking of doing the same thing he did.

“The NFL is all about redemption stories, right?”

Lately, Kluwe spends his days as a stay-at-home-dad and science fiction novelist. He’s currently shopping a book, entitled “Genesis Prime,” which he co-wrote with friend and bandmate Andy Reiner (Kluwe plays bass for Tripping Icarus, a Minneapolis-based group).

“It’s essentially a very human story about what happens with those in power, as power always corrupts,” Kluwe says. “You can start out with the noblest of intentions, but then along the way you get to a point where you might think you’re doing things for the right reasons, but you’re not.” Hmmm. NFL metaphor, anyone? “No so much the NFL, just large structures in general,” Kluwe says. “You can look at what’s happening with the NSA, you can look at what’s happening with our drone program, even what’s happening with the Catholic Church.”

While Kluwe is comfortable pursuing a writing career and looking after his two young daughters in their Huntington Beach, Calif. home, he still wants an NFL job. He has eight years of punting experience, and was in the top-10 in yards-per-punt during three different seasons. Kluwe says he’s been kicking balls, and is in game shape. Still, since the Deadspin story posted, no NFL team has called. He doesn’t regret writing the piece, but is still disappointed.

“In the NFL, it’s okay to commit crimes or beat your wife or get caught drunk driving, but when you speak out for something, that’s the line you can’t cross.

“Apparently, I can’t be redeemed.”

TIME States

Colorado Attorney General Urges Clerks to Stop Issuing Gay-Marriage Licenses

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers talked about the Hayman Fire and the plea agreement deal with Terry Barton. Suthers was in his office on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post
Colorado attorney general John Suthers in his office on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Cyrus McCrimmon—The Denver Post/Getty Images

Attorney general says clerks are violating the law, since the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is still in effect

County clerks in Colorado who have been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples might soon be ordered to stop, if an appeal to the state’s supreme court by its attorney general is carried out.

Calling the current situation “legal chaos,” where clerks are issuing licenses even though Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage has not been struck down, attorney general John Suthers said the state is being forced to violate its own laws, reports the Denver Post.

Suthers asked the supreme court to intervene after judges from some of the state’s lower courts refused to entertain a similar request, and allowed county clerks to continue giving gay couples marriage licenses.

C. Scott Crabtree, a judge in Adams County District Court, ruled last week that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional and denied a request to stop Denver clerks from issuing licenses to gay couples. A Boulder County judge also followed suit, and clerks in Denver and Pueblo began issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

However, Suthers said the ban still stands, since Crabtree’s ruling has not yet taken effect.

Most clerks in the state are continuing to issue these licenses because they are against the ban, and Suthers said he understands the issue is an emotional one. “But we simply cannot, as a matter of respect for the rule of law, ignore the processes by which laws are changed,” he said.

[The Denver Post]

TIME 2016 Election

Christie: Gay Marriage “Settled” In New Jersey But Republicans Shouldn’t Give Up Fight

Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention, July 12, 2014, in Nashville. Mark Humphrey—AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday that while same-sex marriage is “settled” in New Jersey, it’s not time for opponents to give up the fight.

Speaking to reporters at the National Governors Association, Christie said it is not time for Republicans to drop the issue, which is entrenched in the party’s platform but contributes to the party’s difficulty with younger voters. “I don’t think that there’s going to be some major referee who’s going to say now it’s time to stop,” he said, referencing his own opposition to the unions. “Certainly I’m not going to, because these are opinions that I feel strongly about.”

“The country will resolve this over a period of time,” he added, saying it is important for people to respect those who disagree with them on the issue. “But do I think it’s resolved now? No.”

Christie, seen as an all-but-certain candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said the party should not attempt a national campaign on the issue. “It should be done state by state,” he said.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, with most states’ legal bans currently under challenge in federal courts across the country. Many leading operatives have called on the party to soften its stance on same-sex marriage in order to return to the majority, but national Republicans have been slow to drop their opposition. Just four GOP lawmakers in Congress are in favor of allowing the marriages, and just one presidential prospect, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, is supportive.

Christie dropped a legal fight to block same-sex marriage in New Jersey in 2013 after the State Supreme Court indicated it would not stop the unions, saying now: “Yeah, it is a settled issue in New Jersey.”

“When I know that I’ve been defeated you don’t bang your head against a wall and spend taxpayer money to do it,” he said, explaining his decision. “Absent a change in the legislature, I think at the moment it’s settled law in New Jersey.”

Asked whether the country could resolve in favor of traditional marriage despite the momentum behind the “marriage equality” movement, Christie replied “I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.”

TIME LGBT

Judge: Same-Sex Couples Can Keep Marrying in Colorado

But the gay marriage ban is still in effect

Gay couples can continue to marry in Colorado, but the state’s ban on same-sex marriage will remain in place, a judge ruled Thursday.

District Court Judge Andrew Hartman found that a county clerk can continue issuing marriage license to gay couples while arguments about the constitutionality of Colorado’s prohibition make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hartman said the clerk could ignore a federal stay on a ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which found states cannot set gender requirements for marriage. Clerks in Denver and Boulder told the Associated Press that they plan to issue licenses.

The judge said in his decision that even though gay marriage is technically illegal in the state, the clerk’s actions are not harming anyone. He noted that every judge in the state who has ruled on this issue in the past year has found gay marriage constitutional and predicted the inevitability of the prohibition’s overturn.

TIME LGBT

One Year Later: The DOMA Supreme Court Ruling

Thursday marks one year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled portions of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

+ READ ARTICLE

In June of 2013, the Supreme Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act, giving married gay couples the federal benefits and rights to which straight married couples were previously entitled.

The landmark decision produced one of the fastest civil rights shifts in the nation’s history. As a consequence of the ruling, the gay marriage movement was able to build unprecedented momentum that allowed gay advocates to win cases in more than a dozen jurisdictions.

Watch the video above for more on where the country stands one year after the historic ruling paved the way for more marriage equality.

 

 

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45,890 other followers