TIME Virginia

US Court: Va. Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

(RICHMOND, Va.) — A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, the latest in a string of decisions overturning bans across the country.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It was not immediately clear if or when the state would need to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Virginia’s same-sex marriage bans “impermissibly infringe on its citizens’ fundamental right to marry,” Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote in the court’s opinion.

In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed. Attorney General Mark Herring, representing a state official also named as a defendant, sided with the plaintiffs.

“Marriage is one of the most fundamental rights — if not the most fundamental right — of all Americans,” David Boies, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “This court has affirmed that our plaintiffs — and all gay and lesbian Virginians — no longer have to live as second-class citizens who are harmed and demeaned every day.”

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Those rulings remain in various stages of appeal.

More than 70 cases have been filed in all 31 states that prohibit same-sex marriage. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow such marriages.

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 Virginia, where they are raising a 16-year-old daughter.

Two other same-sex couples, Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester, filed a similar lawsuit in Harrisonburg and were allowed to intervene in the case before the appeals court.

In 2006, Virginians voted 57 percent to 43 percent to approve the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Virginia laws also prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.

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 Gay Rights

Utah Will Appeal Gay Marriage Ruling in Supreme Court

Appeals Court Overturns Same Sex Marriage Ban In Utah
Laurie Wood, (L) and her partner Kody Partridge hold hands at a press conference 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 has decided to go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue against gay marriage

(SALT LAKE CITY) —€” Utah has decided to go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue against gay marriage, meaning the nation’s highest court will have at least one same-sex marriage case on its plate when it returns in October.

The office of the Utah attorney general announced Wednesday that it would bypass a full appeals court and take the gay marriage case to the Supreme Court instead.

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. The high court is under no obligation to the take the case, and it could wait for rulings from one or more of the five other appellate courts with gay marriage cases pending, legal scholars say.

Utah’s appeal is of a June 25 ruling from a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which found states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they choose partners of the same sex. The panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.

The Utah case is certain to pique the Supreme Court’s interest, but the justices usually look for cases that involve split rulings from federal appeals courts, said Douglas NeJaime, a University of California-Irvine law professor.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about Virginia’s ban in early May, and a ruling is expected soon. Arguments are scheduled for August and September in two different courts for cases out of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Nevada and Idaho.

“My best guess it that the court will hang onto this for a while and see what happens,” NeJaime said. “There are so many cases now, it will have a pick.”

William Eskridge, a Yale University law professor, also doesn’t expect a quick decision from the high court. The Supreme Court is under no deadline to make a decision and knows other appellate decisions are coming, he said.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office said in a statement the appeal will be filed in the coming weeks, to get “clarity and resolution” on the matter. The decision to go directly to the Supreme Court means a review from the entire 10th Circuit Court is off the table, no matter what the high court decides.

Gov. Gary Herbert has said the state already budgeted for a need to defend the law before the Supreme Court. It is expected to cost another $300,000 to have three outside attorneys handle the case — the same amount it cost to take the case to the federal appeals court.

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last summer allowed married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as other married people, but did not specifically address whether gay marriage is a constitutional right.

Since then, lower courts have repeatedly cited the decision when striking down gay marriage bans. The latest such ruling was Wednesday, when a state judge struck down Colorado’s gay marriage ban. That ruling is on hold pending an appeal.

In the Utah case, the 10th Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision that overturned a 2004 voter-approved gay marriage ban. More than 1,000 same-sex couples wed in Utah after the ban was struck down and before the Supreme Court issued a stay.

The same thing happened in Indiana, where several hundred same-sex couples married during a two-day window in June. On Wednesday, Indiana state officials said they won’t recognize those marriages — the same decision Utah made.

The conservative Sutherland Institute of Utah applauded the state for appealing to the highest court, saying in a statement that it gives states the chance to “defend marriage as society’s way to encourage a married mother and father for every child.”

Plaintiff Moudi Sbeity called the decision to take the case to the Supreme Court “wonderful news.” He and his partner, Derek Kitchen, are one of three couples who sued over Utah’s gay marriage ban.

“We are one step closer toward having our families recognized in our home state,” Sbeity said. “It’s definitely a case our Supreme Court needs to hear. The faster we can move on this, the better for all of us.”

TIME

Court Orders Indiana to Recognize 1 Gay Marriage

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has ordered Indiana to recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple on the death certificate that is issued when one terminally ill partner dies.

Tuesday’s ruling came after the court stayed a federal judge’s order setting aside Indiana’s prohibition of gay marriage as unconstitutional.

Lawyers from Lambda Legal had asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago for the continued recognition of the marriage between Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who is fighting advanced ovarian cancer.

The women, who were legally married in Massachusetts last year, filed a lawsuit seeking to force Indiana to recognize their marriage. They were granted emergency recognition last month while their case proceeded, in part so Sandler’s name could appear on Quasney’s death certificate as her spouse.

 

 

TIME

Judge Strikes Down Kentucky’s Gay Marriage Ban

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky has struck down the state’s ban on same-sex couples getting licenses and marrying in the state.

However, Tuesday’s ruling was temporarily put on hold because it will be appealed, meaning it is not yet clear when same-sex couples could be issued marriage licenses.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn in Louisville concluded in Tuesday’s ruling that the state’s prohibition on same-sex couples being wed violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by treating gay couples differently than straight couples.

Heyburn previously struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages from other states and countries, but put the implementation of that ruling on hold. That decision did not deal with whether Kentucky would have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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.

 

 

 

TIME

Judge Strikes Down Indiana Ban on Gay Marriage

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has struck down Indiana’s ban on gay marriage, calling it unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause in a mixed ruling involving lawsuits from several gay couples.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ruling means same-sex marriages can begin in the state.

The Indiana attorney general’s office says it will appeal.

Federal courts across the country have struck down gay marriage bans recently, but many of those rulings are on hold pending appeal. Attorneys on both sides of the issue expect the matter to eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court.

It also wasn’t immediately clear what impact Wednesday’s ruling might have on a faltering movement to add a gay marriage ban into the Indiana Constitution.

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