TIME Gay Marriage

Gay Lawmaker Threatens to Out Cheating Peers Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

Rep. Patricia Todd, of Birmingham, Ala. discusses a bill during a House Ways and Means Committee meeting in Montgomery, Ala. on Jan. 15, 2014.
Rep. Patricia Todd, of Birmingham, Ala. discusses a bill during a House Ways and Means Committee meeting in Montgomery, Ala. on Jan. 15, 2014. Butch Dill—AP

"I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out."

It must be tough to be an openly gay lawmaker in the Bible Belt.

But Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd, a Democrat, isn’t backing down.

After a federal judge ruled Friday that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Todd wrote a Facebook post that might have a few of her peers worried.

“I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about ‘family values’ when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have,” Todd wrote. “I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out.”

Todd elaborated on her threat to the Huffington Post: “If certain people come out and start espousing this rhetoric about family values, then I will say, ‘Let’s talk about family values, because here’s what I heard.’ I don’t have direct knowledge, because obviously I’m not the other person involved in the affair.”

“One thing I’m pretty consistent on is I do not like hypocrites,” she added. “If you can explain your position and you hold yourself to the same standard you want to hold me to, then fine. But you cannot go out there and smear my community by condemning us and somehow making us feel less than, and expect me to be quiet.”

On Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade issued a two-week stay on her ruling, giving the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals until Feb. 9 to decide whether to continue the delay.

Figuring out whether Todd will make good on her threats in the intervening time will certainly make Alabama politics rather interesting.

This article originally appeared on People.com

MONEY Benefits

Why Some Same-Sex Couples May Have to Marry Now

Same-sex wedding toppers on top of aspirin bottle
Sarina Finkelstein (photo illustration)—Getty Images (2)

With same-sex marriage legal in 35 states and D.C., a few employers are starting to roll back back health insurance and other benefits for domestic partners.

Until recently, same-sex couples could not legally marry. Now, some are finding they must wed if they want to keep their partner’s job-based health insurance and other benefits.

With same-sex marriage now legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia, some employers that formerly covered domestic partners say they will require marriage licenses for workers who want those perks.

“We’re bringing our benefits in line, making them consistent with what we do for everyone else,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon, which notified non-union employees in July that domestic partners in states where same-sex marriage is legal must wed if they want to qualify for such benefits.

Employers making the changes say that since couples now have the legal right to marry, they no longer need to provide an alternative. Such rule changes could also apply to opposite-sex partners covered under domestic partner arrangements.

“The biggest question is: Will companies get rid of benefit programs for unmarried partners?” said Todd Solomon, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago.

It is legal for employers to set eligibility requirements for the benefits they offer workers and their families — although some states, such as California, bar employers from excluding same-sex partners from benefits. But some benefit consultants and advocacy groups say there are legal, financial and other reasons why couples may not want to marry.

Requiring marriage licenses is “a little bossy” and feels like “it’s not a voluntary choice at that point,” said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, an organization advocating for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

About two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partner benefits, but only a minority is changing the rules to require tying the knot, said Deena Fidas, director of the workplace equality program at the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

Because same-sex marriage isn’t legal in all states, “many employers operating in multiple states … are retaining their partner benefit structures,” said Fidas.

Most companies making the changes, including Verizon, are doing so only in those states where same-sex couples can get married. And most give workers some time to do it.

“We gave them a year and a quarter to get married,” said Jim Redmond, spokesman for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, which made the change for employees shortly after New York allowed same-sex unions.

Employers that offer domestic partner benefits — for both same-sex and opposite-sex partners — generally allow couples in committed relationships to qualify for health and other benefits upon providing documents, such as financial statements, wills, rental agreements or mortgages, proving they are responsible for each other financially.

Such benefits were particularly important before the federal health law barred insurers from rejecting people with pre-existing medical conditions.

“We had clients over the years who were living with HIV … the only health insurance they had, or had hope of getting was their partner’s, through a job,” said Daniel Bruner, director of legal services at the Whitman-Walker Health clinic in Washington D.C. “Now folks have more health insurance options.”

After the Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013, the portion of the health insurance premium paid by employers on behalf of the same-sex spouse was no longer taxable under federal rules, although state taxes often applied where such marriages were not legal. When state marriage laws change, so do those tax rules.

In Arizona, Dena Sidmore and her wife, Cherilyn Walley are saving more than $300 a month in taxes on the health insurance from Walley’s state job, which covers them both. The savings came after the state’s same-sex marriage bar was thrown out by the courts in October.

They didn’t marry for benefits. They already had coverage under domestic partner requirements affecting Arizona state workers. They simply wanted to be married. Indeed, they tied the knot in September 2013, after driving all night to Santa Fe, N.M., where same-sex marriage was legal.

“It was lovely,” Sidmore said of the ceremony at the courthouse. But for her, the real change came when Arizona’s bar on same-sex marriage was overturned by the courts. She remembers thinking: “This is real. It’s not just a piece of paper.”

After the courts lifted the same-sex marriage ban, Arizona dropped its domestic partner program. State workers had until the end of last year to marry if they wanted to keep a partner on benefits.

Sidmore has no objection to employers requiring a marriage license for benefits because “spousal benefits require marriage,” although she thinks there should be exceptions for older residents who might face the loss of pensions or other financial complications if they remarry.

Benefit experts recommend that employers consider what it might mean for workers if benefits are linked to marital status — especially those that operate in states where same-sex marriage is not legal.

While some couples, like Sidmore and Walley, may be willing to travel to tie the knot, others may not want to, or may be unable to afford it. Additionally, some workers may fear if they marry, then move or get transferred to a state where same-sex marriage is barred, they would face discrimination.

Joe Incorvati, a managing director at KPMG in New Jersey, married his partner, Chuck, in 2013 when it became an option. “We’d been together for 38 years, so it just seemed natural,” he said.

KPMG offers domestic partner benefits and does not require employees to be married for eligibility. While he’s comfortable in New Jersey, Incorvati said it could be a problem if his company wanted to transfer him to a state where same sex marriage is not legal.

Even though his work benefits would remain the same, “Would I have the same rights as in New Jersey?” Incorvati asked. “The answer may be no.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit national health policy news service.

TIME LGBT

Meet the Plaintiffs in the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Case

The families and couples at the heart of the Supreme Court's historic decision to rule on gay marriage in the U.S.

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it would review an appeals court case upholding bans on same-sex marriage in four states.

The Court will consider four cases that have been consolidated and will be heard together, from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. In each case, families and individuals are challenging the gay marriage bans in their respective states. These are their stories:

Michigan

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse: DeBoer and Rowse’s lawsuit against the state of Michigan was inspired by a close call on a snowy Ohio road that could have been a fatal car accident. That’s when they realized that if anything ever happened to one of them, their children would be split up and sent to live with distant relatives. Even though the Detroit-area nurses have adopted four special-needs kids together (ages 2-5,) they’re not legally a family. DeBoer and Rowse each have legal custody of two of their brood, but they can’t adopt together because Michigan doesn’t allow unmarried couples to adopt, and they can’t marry because same-sex marriage is illegal in that state. They filed their lawsuit in 2012.

Kentucky

Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon: Bourke and DeLeon have been together for more than 30 years and have two adopted teenagers together. Even though they married in Canada in 2004 and their marriage was recognized by the federal government in the 2013 DOMA decision, Kentucky still doesn’t recognize them as a married couple, which means that only one of them can be the official parent of their children. The couple filed their lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Kentucky’s gay marriage ban in 2013. “There’s no reason why we should be second-class citizens,” De Leon said in an interview. “We should be at the table with everybody else.”

Tennessee

Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty: Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty have made history even before their case was selected to be heard before the Supreme Court. Their daughter, Emilia Maria Jesty, was the first baby born in Tennessee to have a woman listed as her “father” on her birth certificate. Tanco and Jesty were legally married in New York, but then moved to Tennessee, which does not recognize gay marriage. Both Tanco and Jesty are veterinary professors at the University of Tennessee, and they filed a lawsuit in 2013 to ask that the state recognize their marriage. “It affects my rights because I actually don’t have any legal rights as her parent at this time and that’s why we’ve been fighting so hard, so many families, like ours, can have the legal acknowledgement of their real relationships,” Jesty said.

Ohio

James Obergefell: While the other three cases were inspired by the birth and adoption of children, James Obergefell and John Arthur’s lawsuit was inspired by death. Arthur suffered from ALS, so when the Supreme Court overturned DOMA the couple chartered a private medical jet to go to Maryland to get married after more than 20 years together. When they returned to Ohio, they filed a lawsuit to get their marriage recognized so that the couple could be buried together, in a family plot of a cemetery that allows only spouses and relatives. A judge ruled that Arthur, who died in Oct. 2013, could be listed as “married” on his death certificate. But Ohio appealed that ruling, and if the appeal stands, Arthur’s death certificate will be amended to remove his marriage to Obergefell.

TIME LGBT

Why the Supreme Court is Set to Make History on Gay Marriage

The writing's been on the wall since the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in 2013

The fight for same-sex marriage rights in the United States has reached its final round. On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments on whether state laws that ban these unions violate the constitution.

There’s not much question which way the decision will go: same-sex couples are going to prevail. The logic is plain:

In 2013, the court—the very same nine justices—struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The plaintiff was a lesbian spouse whose marriage was recognized under New York law. The court ruled that the Constitution bars the federal government from treating traditional marriages differently from same-sex marriages in states that legalize both.

Read more: How Gay Marriage Won

Now the court will apply the same reasoning to state laws. Does the constitution allow states to discriminate when Congress cannot? Can the 14 states that still ban same-sex unions refuse to recognize marriages lawfully performed in other states?

In other words: suppose that two couples lawfully married in, say, Utah both move to Ohio. Can the authorities in Ohio refuse to recognize one of the marriages—the two-husband marriage—while recognizing the union of husband and wife?

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the deciding vote on same-sex marriage in 2013, left no doubt about his thinking in his majority opinion: “No legitimate purpose” exists to justify a law “to disparage and injure” same-sex couples. And that’s what these laws do, he concluded. DOMA “instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.”

Lower federal courts pretty clearly agree on this point. Even some of the most conservative courts of appeal have ruled that state laws against same-sex marriage are in conflict with the 2013 ruling. Earlier this term, the Supreme Court declined to take up the issue, for the simple reason that the lower court judges were all arriving at the same decision. Where there was no dispute, the high court saw no need to step in.

But last fall, a panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—with jurisdiction over Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee—upheld state laws against same-sex marriages. With lower courts now in conflict, the Supremes have a role to play.

Given Kennedy’s long history as a defender of the dignity and rights of homosexuals, it defies belief to think that he has been sitting in Washington, watching couples in one state after another gain the freedom to wed, if he doesn’t in fact believe that freedom exists. For the Court to uphold the 6th Circuit opinion, Kennedy would have to join the court’s conservatives in a ruling that would potentially invalidate thousands of marriages across the country.

Polls now show that a majority of Americans believe in the right to marry. The shift of public and judicial opinion on this issue in a single generation has been startling. But it is less controversial with each passing day.

Now the issue will be resolved once and for all.

TIME Supreme Court

Here’s What the Supreme Court Could Do on Gay Marriage

A couple exchange rings as they are wed during a wedding ceremony at the Broward County Courthouse on Jan. 6, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla
A couple exchange rings as they are wed during a wedding ceremony at the Broward County Courthouse on Jan. 6, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla Joe Raedle—Getty Images

The Supreme Court has yet to review any same-sex marriage cases this term, but that will soon change. The nation’s highest court announced Friday that it will review an appeals court decision upholding bans on gay marriage in four states.

That puts the next phase of the fight over gay marriage squarely in the court’s crosshairs, but it doesn’t mean the issue will be settled once and for all. Here are the broad outlines of two possible outcomes.

The Court Rules Definitively on Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia, but what happens in the remaining states will depend on how the court rules. Given the momentum surrounding the issue of it’s hard for many analysts to see the session ending without the justices affirming that gay couples have the right to marry. If they do, it would play right into the strategy of Freedom to Marry, the national campaign for marriage equality, which has been working to build pressure around the issue so the Court feels obligated to act.

“It is clear that America is ready for the freedom to marry,” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry said in a statement to TIME. “Every day that marriage is denied is a day of injury, indignity and injustice…it is urgent that the Court affirm the freedom to marry and equality under the law nationwide without further delay and without leaving any family or state out.”

The Supreme Court’s review could mean gay marriage expands to all states by the summer. But if the court finds no constitutional right, it would mean that states do not have to honor same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The Court Punts on the Issue

Just because the Supreme Court has decided to take up the gay marriage case, it does not automatically follow that they will make a definitive ruling. The court could choose to overturn the bans without finding that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage. Alternately, it could uphold the bans without necessarily finding that there is not a constitutional right to gay marriage.

As an example of how that might play out, consider the court’s decision in the 2013 case overturning a ballot initiative banning gay marriage in California. After agreeing to hear an appeal on the case, the court simply decided that the lower courts were wrong about whether the plaintiffs had standing to pursue a case. The decision did not take a stance on gay marriage itself.

Even though the court has decided to revisit the issue this term, the justices have a number of ways that they can rule on the case without deciding whether there is a right to gay marriage. That would leave the issue to be fought out at the state level and in lower federal courts, continuing the piecemeal fight.

TIME faith

How Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage

Rainbow flag
Getty Iamges

If evangelical Christianity is famous for anything in contemporary American politics, it is for its complete opposition to gay marriage. Now, slowly yet undeniably, evangelicals are changing their minds.

Every day, evangelical communities across the country are arriving at new crossroads over marriage. My magazine story for TIME this week, “A Change of Heart,” is a deep dive into the changing allegiances and divides in evangelical churches and communities over homosexuality. In public, so many churches and pastors are afraid to talk about the generational and societal shifts happening. But behind the scenes, it’s a whole different game. Support for gay marriage across all age groups of white evangelicals has increased by double digits over the past decade, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, and the fastest change can be found among younger evangelicals—their support for gay marriage jumped from 20% in 2003 to 42% in 2014.

Here are few of the topline findings of my reporting. (To read the full story, click here.)

This winter, EastLake Community Church outside Seattle is quietly coming out as one of the first evangelical megachurches in the country to support full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ people. It is almost impossible to overstate the significance of this move. EastLake is in many ways the quintessential evangelical megachurch–thousands-strong attendance, rock-music worship, Bible-preaching sermons. But pastor Ryan Meeks, 36, is on the front wave of a new choice. “I refuse to go to a church where my friends who are gay are excluded from Communion or a marriage covenant or the beauty of Christian community,” Meeks tells me. “It is a move of integrity for me—the message of Jesus was a message of wide inclusivity.”

Conversation about gay marriage is no longer seen as an automatic compromise on Biblical authority. Other big-time evangelical pastors like Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Atlanta and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek do not go as far as Meeks, but they are talking with congregants and other evangelical leaders about how to navigate the changes they are seeing in their pews. Hybels has been meeting privately for the past year with LGBTQ congregants to learn to better understand their stories. At the Southern Baptist Convention’s three-day, October bootcamp to train more than 1,300 evangelicals to double down against gay marriage, Stanley met together with both LGBT evangelical advocates and SBC leaders for a closed-door conversation about whether their different views on gay marriage put them outside the faith. Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, has developed a friendship with LGBT activist Ted Trimpa and the Gill Foundation, and they are working together on topics like passing anti-human-trafficking legislation.

Evangelical colleges are both taking half-steps toward inclusion and then doubling-back to avoid appearance of change. Wheaton College for example, Billy Graham’s alma mater outside Chicago, hired a celibate lesbian in its chaplain’s office to help guide an official student group for students questioning their sexual identity, and yet also invited a former lesbian now married to male pastor to address the student body.

Elsewhere, evangelical leaders like Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission deny a generational shift is underway. New activists, leaders like Moore and others believe, often are not actually still evangelicals but revisionists who do not support traditional Biblical authority. Plus, Moore says, for evangelicals to keep views that are out-of-step with societal changes is par for the course. “We believe even stranger things than that,” he says. “We believe a previously dead man is going to arrive in the sky on a horse.”

Then there’s the growing slew of evangelical LGBTQ activists pushing for change. Matthew Vines, 24 and founder of the Reformation Project, represents new momentum to change the evangelical tide. He hopes to raise up affirming evangelicals in every evangelical church in the country. He holds conferences and training sessions for evangelicals, has staff in three states and representatives in 25, and has raised a projected $1.2 million for 2015 to press ahead. Brandan Robertson, 22, is the national spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, an effort started by millennials to help evangelicals support civil gay marriages, if not marriages in churches. Justin Lee, 37, of the Gay Christian Network hosted his 11th annual conference last week in Portland, Ore., and 1,400 people attended, double the number who came last year. Lee’s friendship with Alan Chambers, the former head of the ex-gay organization Exodus International, was one of the key factors that led Chambers to apologize for the hurt his organization caused, and the organization shut down.

For everyone on all sides, the Bible itself is at stake. And, religious change takes decades, centuries even, when it happens at all. But with each passing day it is becoming harder and harder to deny that change is indeed coming. Meeks put it this way: “Every positive reforming movement in church history is first labeled heresy. Evangelicalism is way behind on this. We have a debt to pay.”

TIME 2016

Here’s Where 16 Potential Presidential Candidates Stand On Gay Marriage

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) talks with reporters after the Senate voted on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through the next fiscal year on Dec. 13, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Lauren Victoria Burke—AP

For the most part, the gay marriage debate now falls along partisan lines: Democrats support it, Republicans oppose.

But within the crowded field of likely 2016 presidential contenders, there’s a lot of room for nuance. The would-be candidates have made much different arguments and have varying records on the issue.

Meantime, the issue continues to change. On Jan. 6, Florida became the second-largest state to recognize gay marriage, bringing the total to 36. And on Friday, the Supreme Court will meet privately to decide whether to consider cases that could lead to a more definitive ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

Here’s a look at what 16 major presidential contenders think, in order from most opposed to most supportive.

Opposed

Bobby Jindal

What he says: “I’m not a weathervane on this issue and I’m not going to change my position. I continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” (Washington Examiner)

What he’s done: The governor of Louisiana backs a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman and supported a gay marriage ban as a member of Congress.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Louisiana, but there is a pending appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on a 2014 ruling that upheld Louisiana’s ban.

Rick Perry

What he says: “Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens.” (POLITICO)

What he’s done: The Republican governor of Texas framed the marriage debate as a states’ rights issue in the wake of a 2014 decision deeming Texas’s ban unconstitutional.

Where it stands in his state: A state ban on same sex marriage was recently ruled unconstitutional, but the judge said it could continue to be enforced pending an appeal.

Ted Cruz

What he says: “If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage… It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage.” (Huffington Post)

What he’s done: The Republican senator from Texas introduced the State Marriage Defense Act in 2014, which would allow states to define marriage.

Where it stands in his state: A ban was ruled unconstitutional but is still in effect.

Rick Santorum

What he says: Marriage is “about a unity of men and women, for the purposes of having and raising children, and giving the child their birthright, which is to be raised by their natural mother and natural father.” (Mediaite)

What he’s done: The former Republican senator from Pennsylvania is such a well-known opponent of same-sex marriage that activists mounted a viral campaign to mar his Google search results.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Pennsylvania since May.

Ben Carson

What he says: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.” (Baltimore Sun)

What he’s done: Carson is a surgeon, not a career politician, so he hasn’t done anything yet.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Maryland since 2012.

Mike Huckabee

What he says: On Republicans becoming more moderate on gay marriage: “If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead.” (MSNBC)

What he’s done: The former Republican governor of Arkansas signed a law in 1997 banning gay marriage in the state. He’s also called for impeachment of a judge who overturned the ban.

Where it stands in his state: A U.S. district judge ruled in November that the same-sex marriage ban in Arkansas is unconstitutional, but allowed the ban to continue pending appeal.

Marco Rubio

What he says: “There is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance of those who continue to support traditional marriage… Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, is not anti-gay. It is pro-traditional marriage.” (POLITICO)

What he’s done: The Republican senator from Florida says that he believes states should handle marriage, not Congress.

Where it stands in his state: At midnight on Jan. 6, Florida became the 36th and second-largest state in the union to allow gay marriage.

Personally Against, But Politically Ambiguous

Scott Walker

What he says: “It doesn’t really matter what I think now. It’s in the constitution.” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

What he’s done: As a Milwaukee County executive, Walker opposed efforts to provide health care benefits to gay partners of county employees. He was openly in favor of a 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and opposed a law allowing gay couples to get certain county benefits.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Wisconsin since 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from Wisconsin and four other states seeking to keep their same-sex marriage bans.

Chris Christie

What he says: “I don’t think there’s some referee who stands up and says, ‘OK, now it’s time for you to change your opinion,.’ The country will resolve this over a period of time. But do I think it’s resolved? No.” (POLITICO)

What he’s done: The Republican governor of New Jersey has long opposed gay marriage, vetoing a bill to legalize it in New Jersey in 2012. But in 2014 he dropped his appeal of the state Supreme Court judge’s decision that the ban was unconstitutional.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Jersey since 2014.

Rand Paul

What he says: “I believe in old-fashioned traditional marriage but I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved in this and I think the Republican Party can have people on both sides of the issue.” (CNN)

What he’s done: The Republican senator from Kentucky said the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage act was appropriate and that “as a country we can agree to disagree.” (ABC News)

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage is banned in Kentucky.

Jeb Bush

What he says: “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.” (The Washington Post)

What he’s done: In 1994, during his first run for governor, Bush wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald that said, “[Should] sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No,” reports Buzzfeed.

Where it stands in his state: Florida began recognizing same-sex marriage this month.

Somewhat Supportive

John Kasich

What he says: “I just think marriage is between a man and a woman, but if you want to have a civil union that’s fine with me.” (Huffington Post)

What he’s done: The Republican governor of Ohio quickly walked back his civil union comment, saying he used the term “loosely.” He has demonstrated support for an appeal of an upcoming ruling by a federal judge that will require Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where it is legal.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage is banned in Ohio.

In Favor

Hillary Clinton

What she says: “It really became very clear to me that if we’re going to support marriage in our country, it should be available to everyone regardless of who they love and that this marriage equality issue is a great human rights issue.” (Huffington Post)

What she’s done: The former Secretary of State did not support gay marriage in her 2008 presidential campaign, but she issued a video announcing her support for it in 2013 after she left the State Department.

Where it stands in her state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in New York since 2011.

Martin O’Malley

What he says: “All of us, wherever we happen to stand on the marriage equality issue, can agree that all our children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law.” (Huffington Post)

What he’s done: The Democratic governor of Maryland signed same sex marriage into law in his state in 2012, making it the eighth state to allow gay marriage.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Maryland since 2012.

Bernie Sanders

What he says: On the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act: “This is good news for all Americans who believe in the words carved in marble on the front of the Supreme Court building, equal justice under law.” (Press release)

What he’s done: The Democratic senator from Vermont voted against the anti-gay marriage Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and voted no on a constitutional amendment against it in 2006.

Where it stands in his state: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Vermont since 2009.

Elizabeth Warren

What she says: “Marriage equality is morally right.” (POLITICO)

What she’s done: The Democratic senator from Massachusetts supported repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, parts of which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2013.

Where it stands in her state: In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage.

TIME Florida

After Miami’s Kickoff, Gays Marry Across Florida

john, Shel Goldstein
John and Shel Goldstein hug during the group wedding in Delray Beach, Fla., on Jan. 6, 2015 J Pat Carter—AP

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ruled that Florida's same-sex-marriage ban is unconstitutional

(KISSIMMEE, FLA.)— Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage ended statewide at the stroke of midnight Monday, and court clerks in some Florida counties wasted no time, issuing marriage licenses and performing weddings for same-sex couples overnight.

But they were beaten to the punch by a Miami judge who found no need to wait until the statewide ban expired. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel presided over Florida’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages Monday afternoon.

Still, most counties held off on official ceremonies until after midnight early Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle’s ruling that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional took effect in all 67 counties. Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, is still pursuing state and federal appeals seeking to uphold the ban voters approved in 2008, but her effort to block these weddings until the courts finally rule was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

And now that same-sex marriage is a reality in Florida, Bondi’s spokeswoman told The Associated Press “the judge has ruled, and we wish these couples the best.”

The addition of Florida’s 19.9 million people means 70 percent of Americans now live in the 36 states where gay marriage is legal.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’re just so excited and so happy,” said Osceola County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb moments after she married Patti Daugherty, her partner of 22 years, at the Osceola County Courthouse in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando. Dressed in matching white pants and white embroidered shirts, the couple stood under a canopy of lace and ribbons as County Clerk of Court Armando Ramirez officiated and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., served as a witness. A countdown clock was placed in the front of the room, and supporters counted down to midnight 10 seconds before the clock struck 12.

“I’m hyped up at the moment,” said Grieb, whose marriage was the first in Osceola County and was followed by 27 others in the early morning hours.

Outside the courthouse, about 20 protesters held signs reading “God says male and female should be married” and “Sodom and Gomorrah,” but same-sex marriage supporters ignored them.

In Key West, at the southern tip of Florida, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, exchanged nuptials early Tuesday dressed in matching black tuxedos with blue vests, shortly after getting the first marriage license issued to a same-sex couple in the Florida Keys. Several hundred people attended the wedding staged on the steps of the Monroe County Courthouse.

During vows, Huntsman and Jones exchanged handmade silver rings, embraced and kissed. Afterward, Jones removed a large silver-toned bracelet that completely encircled his left wrist. He called it “my shackle of inequality.”

“I’m elated. Overjoyed that I am finally legally recognized with the man I have loved for 12 years now,” said Jones, whose marriage was followed by nine others in Monroe County overnight.

In Palm Beach County, celebrity financial adviser Suze Orman showed up at a mass wedding of 100 couples at a Delray Beach courthouse to support two friends getting married. Orman, who married her wife, Kathy Travis, a decade ago in South Africa, said she was happy same-sex couples were finally being recognized legally in Florida, where she lives part of the time.

“This is an investment in validity,” Orman said.

Broward Clerk Howard Forman also planned to officiate a mass wedding overnight at his county courthouse, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer planned to do the same at city hall later in the morning. Churches throughout the state were holding mass weddings for same-sex couples on Tuesday.

On Monday, gay and lesbian couples in Miami got a head-start when Zabel said she saw no reason why same-sex couples couldn’t immediately get their marriage licenses.

Then, she married two couples, Karla Arguello and Cathy Pareto and Todd and Jeff Delmay, in her chambers, packed with supporters and news media for the event.

“Finally, Florida recognizes us as a couple,” Pareto said. “It’s just — I don’t know, sweet justice.”

But while the news was largely met with cheers or even shrugs from Florida’s more liberal enclaves, signs of opposition were evident farther north, where more conservative Floridians live.

In Jacksonville, Duval County Court Clerk Ronnie Fussell shut down the courthouse chapel, saying no marriage ceremonies — gay or straight — would be allowed there. At least two other counties in northeast Florida did the same.

“The day is going to come very soon where America is going to wake up and say, ‘Whoa! Wait a second! I wanted two guys to live together. I didn’t want the fundamental transformation of society,'” said John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy council. He led the petition drive to put the gay marriage ban on the ballot back in 2008.

Republican Jeb Bush, who opposed gay marriage while serving as Florida’s governor and who now may seek the presidency, sought a middle ground Monday.

In a statement, he urged people to “show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

___

Associated Press staffers J. Pat Carter in Delray Beach, Curt Anderson in Miami, Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Jason Dearen in Gainesville, Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach and Melissa Nelson-Gabriel in Pensacola contributed to this report.

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Urges ‘Respect’ for Florida Gay-Marriage Ruling, but Declines Specifics

Jeb Bush at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colo., on Oct. 29, 2014.
Jeb Bush at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colo., on Oct. 29, 2014 Melina Mara—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush urged respect for “the rule of law” on Monday as the first same-sex marriages began in his home state, but declined to offer his opinion on the subject.

Exploring a run for President, the Republican lawmaker did not address a judge’s finding against the state’s gay-marriage ban, which was ruled unconstitutional last year, but sought to placate all sides on the controversial subject. The court-ordered stay was lifted Monday, clearing the way for marriages to begin in the state.

“We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” Bush said in a statement. “I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

Bush, who converted to Catholicism, endorsed a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman when it was pushed by his brother, former President George W. Bush.

In an interview with the Miami Herald this weekend, Jeb Bush implied he disagreed with the court’s decision to overturn the state’s ban. “It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision,” Bush said. “The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”

Republicans seeking the White House find themselves in a tough spot on the issue, caught between an evangelical base opposed to same-sex unions and a broader electorate that has drastically shifted in favor of them. Bush joins a roster of Republican politicians who are personally opposed to the issue, but have apparently acknowledged the shifting political dynamics. Last year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declared the issue “settled” in his state and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that “it’s over in Wisconsin” after courts ruled against marriage bans.

In a statement, Democratic National Committee communications director Mo Elleithee mocked Bush’s statement’s evasiveness. “It took Jeb Bush 69 words to say absolutely nothing – 69 words not to say, ‘I support marriage equality,’” he said in statement. “Nothing’s changed. At the end of Bush’s statement, he still had the same position: he opposes the right of gay and lesbian Floridians — and all LGBT Americans — to get married and adopt children.”

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