Gay Primary Source

Friday, November 21, 2014

Senators Laud Montana Decision

"I applaud today's ruling. It aligns our laws with our values and is a big step forward for our state. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry denies them happiness and equal protection under the law."
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (MT), November 19, 2014.

"Throughout my 36 years of service in the military, as Lt. Governor, and now as U.S. Senator, I've been proud to fight for our freedoms. Today’s overdue court ruling reflects our Montana values of individual freedom, fairness and equality. I believe every Montanan - our sons, daughters, friends and family - should live free of discrimination."
U.S. Senator John Walsh (MT), November 19, 2014.

Gov Lauds Montana Decision

Today’s decision ensures we are closer to fulfilling our promise of freedom, dignity, and equality for all Montanans. It is a day to celebrate our progress, while recognizing the qualities that bind us as Montanans: a desire to make a good life for ourselves and our families, while providing greater opportunities to the next generation.

I have instructed my administration to quickly take all appropriate steps to ensure that we are recognizing and affording the same rights and responsibilities to legally married same-sex couples that all married Montanans have long enjoyed.  Montana Governor Steve Bullock, November 19, 2014.

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Montana

... "These families want for their children what all families in Montana want. They want to provide a safe and loving home in which their children have the chance to explore the world in which they live. They want their children to have the chance to discover their place in this world. And they want their children to have the chance to fulfill their highest dreams. These families, like all of us, want their children to adventure into the world without fear of violence; to achieve all that their talent and perseverance allows without fear of discrimination; and to love themselves so that they can love others. No family wants to deprive its precious children of the chance to marry the loves of their lives. Montana no longer can deprive Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of the chance to marry their loves...

... the United States Constitution exists to protect disfavored minorities from the will of the majority. Equal protection of the laws will not be achieved through “indiscriminate imposition of inequalities.” Romer, 517 U.S. at 633. Our constitutional tradition does not permit laws to single out a certain class of citizens for “disfavored legal status.” Romer, 517 U.S. at 633.

Montana’s laws that ban same-sex marriage impose a “disfavored legal status” on same-sex couples. The time has come for Montana to follow all the other states within the Ninth Circuit and recognize that laws that ban same-sex marriage violate the constitutional right of same-sex couples to equal protection of the laws. Today Montana becomes the thirty-fourth state to permit same-sex marriage.

... The Court hereby DECLARES that Montana’s laws that ban same-sex marriage, including Article XIII, section 7 of the Montana Constitution, and Montana Code Annotated section 40-1-103 and section 40-1-401, violate Plaintiffs’ rights to equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Court PERMANENTLY ENJOINS the State of Montana and its officers, employees, agents, and political subdivisions from enforcing Article XIII, section 7 of the Montana Constitution, Montana Code Annotated section 40-1-103 and section 40-1-401, and any other laws or regulations, to the extent that they prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying in Montana, and to the extent that they do not recognize same-sex marriages validly contracted outside Montana. This injunction shall take effect immediately."

Judge Brian Morris, U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls Division, November 19, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in South Carolina

... “The Bostic court... [observed] that the “very purpose of the Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

... The Court finds that Bostic controls the disposition of the issues before this Court and establishes, without question, the right of Plaintiffs to marry as same sex partners...

Judge Richard Mark Gergel, U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, Charleston Division, November 12, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Alaska

“... The Court finds that Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution...

Alaska’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage “usurp, disregard, and disrespect” the fundamental right of all homosexuals to choose who to marry; a right of liberty, privacy, and association freely given to heterosexuals...

...The basic principle is that “fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”...

...There is no sensible reason to deny same-sex families the same advantages and benefits already given to opposite-sex couples.

In sum, any relationship between Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws and the government interests asserted by Defendants is either nonexistent or purely speculative. Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws are a prime example of how “the varying treatment of different groups or persons is so unrelated to the achievement of any combination of legitimate purposes that we can only conclude that the legislature’s actions were irrational.” Refusing the rights and responsibilities afforded by legal marriage sends the public a government-sponsored message that same-sex couples and their familial relationships do not warrant the status, benefits, and dignity given to couples of the opposite sex. This Court finds that Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because no state interest provides “exceedingly persuasive justification” for the significant infringement of rights that they inflict upon homosexual individuals.


With this ruling, the Court hereby DECLARES that Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws are unconstitutional for violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court IMMEDIATELY ENJOINS the state of Alaska, including state officers, personnel, agents, government divisions, and other political entities, from enforcing Alaska Constitution Article 1,
Section 25 and Alaska Statute Sections 25.05.011 and 25.05.013 to the extent that the laws prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marriage and refusing to recognize lawful same-sex marriages entered in other states. IT IS SO ORDERED."

Judge Timothy M. Burgess, U.S. District Court, District of Alaska, October 12, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Appeals Court Rules for Idaho and Nevada Same-Sex Marriage

"... private disapproval is a categorically inadequate justification for public injustice...

...Raising children is hard; marriage supports same-sex couples in parenting their children, just as it does opposite-sex couples...

...In extending the benefits of marriage only to people who have the capacity to procreate, while denying those same benefits to people who already have children, Idaho and Nevada materially harm and demean same-sex couples and their children...

Denying children resources and stigmatizing their families on this basis is “illogical and unjust.”... It is counterproductive, and it is unconstitutional...

...To allow same-sex couples to adopt children and then to label their families as second-class because the adoptive parents are of the same sex is cruel as well as unconstitutional. Classifying some families, and especially their children, as of lesser value should be repugnant to all those in this nation who profess to believe in “family values.”...

...Because defendants have failed to demonstrate that these laws further any legitimate purpose, they unjustifiably discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and are in violation of the Equal Protection Clause...

...When same-sex couples are married, just as when opposite-sex couples are married, they serve as models of loving commitment to all.

The judgment of the district court in Latta v. Otter is AFFIRMED. The judgment of the district court in Sevcik v. Sandoval is REVERSED, and the case is REMANDED to the district court for the prompt issuance of an injunction permanently enjoining the state, its political subdivisions, and its officers, employees, and agents, from enforcing any constitutional provision, statute, regulation or policy preventing otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying, or denying recognition to marriages celebrated in other jurisdictions which, if the spouses were not of the same sex, would be valid under the laws of the state."

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, October 7, 2014.

         click here to read entire decision


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order for Full Equality

"The highest priority of state government should be to guarantee every person’s right to live, learn, work, and do business, regardless of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation. This principle guided my first act as Governor when I signed Executive Order #1 banning discrimination in the state workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This principle also guided the Virginia leaders, advocates and allies who fought for marriage equality and won when the Supreme Court declined to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Virginia. This is a historic and long overdue moment for our Commonwealth and our country.

The decision has opened new doors to my administration’s guiding principle of equality. An open and welcoming environment is imperative to grow as a Commonwealth, and to build a new Virginia economy that will attract vital businesses, innovative entrepreneurs, and thriving families.

On issues ranging from recognizing same-sex marriages to extending health care benefits to same-sex spouses of state employees, state government is already well-prepared to implement this landmark decision. My administration will act quickly to continue to bring all of our policies and practices into compliance so that we can give married same-sex couples the full array of benefits they deserve.

Pursuant to the authority vested in me as the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth, and pursuant to Article V of the Constitution and the laws of Virginia, I hereby order, effective immediately, that all entities in the executive branch, including agencies, authorities, commissions, departments, and all institutions of higher education further evaluate all policies and take all necessary and appropriate legal measures to comply with this decision.

In addition, the Director of the Department of Human Resource Management shall notify all state agencies that employees whose same-sex marriage is recognized as legal in the Commonwealth, and who are eligible, may enroll their spouse and eligible dependents in the health benefits program for state employees within sixty (60) days of marriage.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Executive Order #30, October 7, 2014.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Governor Lauds Final Same-Sex Marriage Outcome in Virginia

This is a historic and long overdue moment for our Commonwealth and our country. On issues ranging from recognizing same-sex marriages to extending health care benefits to same-sex spouses of state employees, Virginia is already well-prepared to implement this historic decision. Going forward we will act quickly to continue to bring all of our policies and practices into compliance so that we can give marriages between same-sex partners the full faith and credit they deserve.

I applaud all of the Virginians who gave so much time and effort in the fight for equality, and congratulate my friend Attorney General Mark Herring on this important victory for justice and equal treatment under the law.

Equality for all men and women regardless of their race, color, creed or sexual orientation is intrinsic to the values that make us Virginians, and now it is officially inscribed in our laws as well.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of a writ of certiorari in the case that overturned Virginia’s ban on gay marriages, October 6, 2014.

Missouri AG Won't Appeal Marriage Ruling

"The circuit court's judgment in Barrier v. Vasterling held that Missouri must recognize marriages lawfully entered into in other states. We will not appeal that judgment. Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states.

A consequence of this morning's ruling by the United States Supreme Court is that gay marriage will soon be legal in as many as 30 states. At a time when Missouri is competing to attract the nation's premier businesses and most talented employees, we should not demand that certain individuals surrender their marriage licenses in order to live and work among us.

Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion."

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, October 6, 2014.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Louisiana Court Strikes Down State Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

"... This court acknowledges that in deciding an equal protection claim, the Supreme Court recognizes that the 14th Amendment does not deny states the power to treat different classes of people in different ways. However, the statute which created different classes by treating some people different must be related to the objective of that statute. We find in this case that Louisiana’s laws banning same-sex marriage is entirely unrelated to the objective of those statutes. Therefore the court finds that the state’s laws prohibiting the petitioners’ same-sex marriage and the adoption of --- are due to the sole reason that this couple is of the same gender, and thus those laws are arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, and unrelated to any legitimate state interest...

The court... hereby declares that La. Const. Article XII, Section 15 (the Defense of Marriage Act/DOMA), and La. Civil Code Articles 86, 89, and 3520(B) are unconstitutional because they violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article IV, Section 1, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, of the United States Constitution. Louisiana’s Revenue Bulletin No. 13-024 (9/13/13) is likewise declared unconstitutional as it violates the petitioners’ rights guaranteed by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Hence,... the Secretary of the State of Louisiana Department of Revenue, is hereby ordered to... allow the petitioners to file their state tax returns as a couple whose marriage is valid and recognized in Louisiana... The court hereby enjoins the State from enforcing the above referenced laws to the extent that these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex..."

Judge Edward D. Rubin, 15th Judicial District Court, Parish of Lafayette, September 22, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Wisconsin & Indiana Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide. The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction - that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended - is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously. To the extent that children are better off in families in which the parents are married, they are better off whether they are raised by their biological parents or by adoptive parents. The discrimination against same-sex couples is irrational, and therefore unconstitutional even if the discrimination is not subjected to heightened scrutiny, which is why we can largely elide the more complex analysis found in more closely balanced equal-protection cases.

... Indiana’s government thinks that straight couples tend to be sexually irresponsible, producing unwanted children by the carload, and so must be pressured (in the form of governmental encouragement of marriage through a combination of sticks and carrots) to marry, but that gay couples, unable as they are to produce children wanted or unwanted, are model parents - model citizens really - so have no need for marriage. Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.

... A degree of arbitrariness is inherent in government regulation, but when there is no justification for government’s treating a traditionally discriminated-against group significantly worse than the dominant group in the society, doing so denies equal protection of the laws. One wouldn’t know, reading Wisconsin’s brief, that there is or ever has been discrimination against homosexuals anywhere in the United States. The state either is oblivious to, or thinks irrelevant, that until quite recently homosexuality was anathematized by the vast majority of heterosexuals... Although discrimination against homosexuals has diminished greatly, it remains widespread. It persists in statutory form in Indiana and in Wisconsin’s constitution.

... Tradition per se therefore cannot be a lawful ground for discrimination - regardless of the age of the tradition. Holmes thought it “revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr... (1897)...

... If no social benefit is conferred by a tradition and it is written into law and it discriminates against a number of people and does them harm beyond just offending them, it is not just a harmless anachronism; it is a violation of the equal protection clause, as in Loving...

... To return to where we started in this opinion, more than unsupported conjecture that same-sex marriage will harm heterosexual marriage or children or any other valid and important interest of a state is necessary to justify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As we have been at pains to explain, the grounds advanced by Indiana and Wisconsin for their discriminatory policies are not only conjectural; they are totally implausible.

... The district court judgments invalidating and enjoining these two states’ prohibitions of same-sex marriage are AFFIRMED.

Judge Richard A. Posner, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, September 4, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision

Monday, September 1, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Florida

"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.

The Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013). Since that decision, 19 different federal courts, now including this one, have ruled on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage. The result: 19 consecutive victories for those challenging the bans. Based on these decisions, gays and lesbians, like all other adults, may choose a life partner and dignify the relationship through marriage. To paraphrase a civil-rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was first struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.

These consolidated cases are here on the plaintiffs’ motions for a preliminary injunction and the defendants’ motions to dismiss. This order holds that marriage is a fundamental right as that term is used in cases arising under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, that Florida’s same-sex marriage provisions thus must be reviewed under strict scrutiny, and that, when so reviewed, the provisions are unconstitutional...”

Judge Robert L. Hinkle, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division, August 21, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Target Files Pro-Same-Sex Marriage Amicus Brief at 7th Circuit

“At Target, we are committed to creating an environment where team members and guests feel welcome, valued and respected.”
"If you’ve been a fan or follower of Target for some time, you’ve likely heard us say those words. You may have heard us talk about our long-standing commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Those aren’t just words. They are how we conduct ourselves - as a business and as a team. And as a part of that belief, we continually evaluate where we are as a company to ensure we are taking steps that balance doing what is right for our business, guests and for our team.

It is in that same spirit that, this week, Target joined several other national companies to sign on to an amicus brief in support of marriage equality. The brief is currently pending in the Seventh Circuit.

As our leadership team discussed signing on, we took time to consider the bigger questions at hand. This brief is important, as the issues it addresses have significant impact on businesses. But it is more than that and we agreed that now is the right time to more directly share our views on this 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.

Without getting into the specifics of a court case, this brief evaluates the issues created by states that both prohibit same-sex marriage and also refuse to recognize marriages that were conducted legally in other states. This position is particularly challenging for a large organization that operates nationally, such as Target. At Target, we have long offered comprehensive, competitive benefits to our LGBT team members and their families, often above what is legally required. We continue to do so today because we believe doing so is right for our team and for our business. But current laws - in places like Wisconsin and Indiana that are addressed in this brief – make it difficult to attract and retain talent. These disparate laws also create confusing and complicated benefits challenges across multiple states.

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.

Jodee Kozlak, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Target Corporation, August 5, 2014.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Decision

... “For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the Virginia Marriage Laws violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the extent that they prevent same-sex couples from marrying and prohibit Virginia from recognizing same-sex couples’ lawful out-of-state marriages. We therefore affirm the district court’s grant of the Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and its decision to enjoin enforcement of the Virginia Marriage Laws.

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.

Judge Henry F. Floyd, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, July 28, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Miami Court Rules for Same-Sex Marriage

"... Treating homosexuals as inferiors, undeserving of the fundamental right to marry the individual that they love, deprives them of basic human dignity. Accordingly, it is held that article I, section 27 of Florida’s Constitution, and those parts of sections 741.04(1) and 741.212, Florida Statutes, prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying in Florida violate the due process protections of the Fourteenth Amendment. These unconstitutional laws are thus void and unenforceable. Furthermore, as shown below, they also violate the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection...

In 1776, our Nation’s Founders went to war in pursuit of a then-novel, yet noble, goal: the creation of a government that recognizes its people are “endowed . . . with certain inalienable rights” and that all are equal in the eyes of the law. THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, para. 2 (U.S. 1776). Unfortunately, history shows that prejudice corrupted the implementation of these ideals and that the corrective wheels of justice turn at a glacial pace. Slavery, for instance, plagued this nation from the time of its birth, and it took a bloody civil war, nearly one hundred years later, to break free from this malady. Segregation, though, took slavery’s place, and it was not until the 1960s that we rid ourselves of this similarly horrible disease. Women too, had to fight for equality, and it was not until 1920 that they were first able to vote. Nevertheless, like race, it was not until the social unrest of the 1960s that gender equality had any meaning. The Native Americans also faced rampant discrimination until the 1960s and 1970s as well.

Notably absent from this protracted march towards social justice was any progress for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community until quite recently. However, as evidenced by the avalanche of court decisions unanimously favoring marriage equality, the dam that was denying justice on this front has been broken. The Court, nonetheless, recognizes that its decision today is divisive and will cause some Floridians great discomfort. This decision, though, “is not made in defiance of the great people of [Florida] or the [Florida] Legislature, but in compliance with the United States Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution...

The recognition that the right to marry encompasses categories of people not traditionally considered to be accorded that right has been slow in coming, but it has become increasingly obvious that it is not constitutionally permissible to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. The flood of cases that have come out since Windsor amply demonstrates this truth as not one court has found a same-sex marriage ban to be constitutional. As case after case has come out, unified in their well-reasoned constitutional condemnation of the deprivation of one class of person’s right to marry, the answer to the question of whether it is constitutionally permissible to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry has become increasingly obvious: Of course it is not. 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.

The journey of our Nation towards becoming “a more perfect Union” does not stop at any particular generation; it is instead a fluid process through every generation. U.S. CONST. pmbl. The Court, therefore, foresees a day when the term “same-sex marriage” is viewed in the same absurd vein as “separate but equal” and is thus forsaken and supplanted by ordinary “marriage.”...

Florida’s same-sex marriage bans violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution, and they also offend basic human dignity. The Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment is therefore GRANTED...” 

Judge Sarah Zabel, Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida, July 25, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Florida Keys Court Rules for Same-Sex Marriage

"The Supreme Court in Lawrence explained that every generation defines its own freedom and that our present laws may be judged by future generations as oppressive and obviously unconstitutional. The same way we now look at laws that forbade interracial marriages, or excluded homosexuals from entering the country, or kept women from voting, or kept black children from going to school with white children, or that U.S. imprisoned Japanese-Americans, on U.S. soil, in camps during WWII. When these laws were in effect, they were supported by society as being reflective of our traditions and morals at the time. Only when those not in power challenged the constitutionality of those laws were they overturned by the courts regardless of the law's popularity and years of tradition. "One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." W. Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). (Emphasis Added).

This court holds that the fundamental right to marry belongs to the individual and is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and that right encompasses the right to marry a person of one's own sex. Thus Article I, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution and Florida Statute 741.04(1) are unconstitutional...

... The court finds Article I, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution and Florida Statute 741.04(1) as unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment...

The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage but 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. Whether it's the NRA protecting our right to bear arms when the City of Chicago attempted to ban handguns within its city limits; or when Nazi supremacists won the right to march in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood; or when a black woman wanted to marry a white man in Virginia; or when black children wanted to go to an all-white school, the Constitution guarantees and protects ALL of its citizens from government interference with those rights. All laws passed whether by the legislature of 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."

Judge Luis M. Garcia, 16th Judicial Circuit Court, Monroe County, Florida, July 17, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision (not quite primary source)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pres. Obama Signs Anti-Discrimination Executive Order

Welcome to the White House, everybody. I know I'm a little late. But that's okay because we've got some big business to do here.

Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming. You organized, you spoke up, you signed petitions, you sent letters - I know because I got a lot of them. And now, thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government - government of the people, by the people, and for the people - will become just a little bit fairer.

It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong. We’re here to do what we can to make it right - to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction.

In a few moments, I will sign an executive order that does two things. First, the federal government already prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Once I sign this order, the same will be explicitly true for gender identity.

And second, we’re going to prohibit all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees. America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people.

Now, this executive order is part of a long bipartisan tradition. President Roosevelt signed an order prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry. President Eisenhower strengthened it. President Johnson expanded it. Today, I'm going to expand it again.

Currently, 18 states have already banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And over 200 cities and localities have done the same. Governor Terry McAuliffe is here; his first act as governor was to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia...

I’ve appointed a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public servants to positions across my administration. They are ambassadors and federal judges, special assistants, senior advisors from the Pentagon to the Labor Department. Every day, their talent is put to work on behalf of the American people.

Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business. That’s why a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies in place. It is not just about doing the right thing - it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent. And there are several business leaders who are here today who will attest to that.

And yet, despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense. There are people here today who’ve lost their jobs for that reason. This is not speculative, this is not a matter of political correctness - people lose their jobs as a consequence of this. Their livelihoods are threatened, their families are threatened. In fact, more states now allow same-sex marriage than prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers. So I firmly believe that it’s time to address this injustice for every American.

Now, Congress has spent 40 years - four decades - considering legislation that would help solve the problem. That's a long time. And yet they still haven’t gotten it done. Senators Terry [Tammy] Baldwin and Jeff Merkley are here. They have been champions of this issue for a long, long time. We are very proud of them. I know they will not stop fighting until fair treatment for all workers is the federal law of the land. Everyone thanks them for that.

But I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act. The rest of you, of course, need to keep putting pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation that resolves this problem once and for all...

For more than two centuries, we have strived, often at great cost, to form “a more perfect union” - to make sure that “we, the people” applies to all the people. Many of us are only here because others fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. And we’ve got a responsibility to do the same for future generations. We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love - no matter what, you can make it in this country.

That’s the story of America. That’s the story of this movement. I want to thank all of you for doing your part. We've got a long way to go, but I hope as everybody looks around this room, you are reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years. In the last two years. In the last one year. We're on the right side of history.

I’m going to sign this executive order. Thank you, everybody.

President Barack Obama, July 21, 2014.

    click here to watch the President's speech


Boulder County Colorado Issues Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

As I have stated before, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that marriage is a fundamental right. I think the least harmful and most sensible solution is to issue marriage licenses and avoid the potential of more civil rights violations while this plays out in court. And that is what we intend to do.  Boulder County Clerk and Recorder, Hillary Hall, July 21, 2014.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Oklahoma Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Our merits disposition is governed by our ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert, No 13-4178, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11935 (10th Cir. June 25, 2014). In that companion case, we held that: (1) plaintiffs who wish to marry a partner of the same sex or have such marriages recognized seek to exercise a fundamental right; and (2) state justifications for banning same-sex marriage that turn on the procreative potential of opposite-sex couples do not satisfy the narrow tailoring test applicable to laws that impinge upon fundamental liberties. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and governed by our ruling in Kitchen, we affirm...” Judge Carlos F. Lucero.

“HOLMES, Circuit Judge, concurring.
In upholding the district court’s substantive ruling in this case, the majority concludes that Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban - found in SQ711 - impermissibly contravenes the fundamental right to marry protected by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution. I fully agree with that conclusion and endorse without reservation the reasoning of the majority on this matter...” Judge Jerome A. Holmes.

U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit, July 18, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Utah Same-Sex Marriage Decision

"Our commitment as Americans to the principles of liberty, due process of law, and equal protection of the laws is made live by our adherence to the Constitution of the United States of America. Historical challenges to these principles ultimately culminated in the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment nearly one-and-a-half centuries ago. This Amendment extends the guarantee s of due process and equal protection to every person in every State of the Union. Those very principles are at issue yet again in this marriage equality appeal brought to us by the Governor and Attorney General of the State of Utah from an adverse ruling of the district court.

We are told that because they felt threatened by state-court opinions allowing same-sex marriage, Utah legislators and - by legislature-initiated action - the citizens of the State of Utah amended their statutes and state constitution in 2004 to ensure that the State “will not recognize, enforce, or give legal effect to any law” that provides “substantially equivalent” benefits to a marriage between two persons of the same sex as are allowed for two persons of the opposite sex. Utah Code § 30-1-4.1. These laws were also intended to assure non-recognition irrespective of how such a domestic union might be denominated, or where it may have been performed. Id. Plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of these laws and the district court agreed with their position. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we entertain the appeal of that ruling.

Our Circuit has not previously considered the validity of same-sex marriage bans. When the seed of that question was initially presented to the United States Supreme Court in 1972, the Court did not consider the matter of such substantial moment as to present a justiciable federal question. Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) (per curiam). Since that date, the seed has grown, however. Last year the Court entertained the federal aspect of the issue in striking down § 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), yet left open the question presented to us now in full bloom: May a State of the Union constitutionally deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the State based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry?

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. ..."

Judge Carlos F. Lucero, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, June 25, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Indiana

“... For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that Indiana’s same sex marriage ban violates the due process clause and equal protection clause and is, therefore, unconstitutional...

... Here, Plaintiffs are not asking the court to recognize a new right; but rather, “[t]hey seek ‘simply the same right that is currently enjoyed by heterosexual individuals: the right to make a public commitment to form an exclusive relationship and create a family with a partner with whom the person shares an intimate and sustaining emotional bond.’” Bostic, 970 F. Supp. 2d at 472 (quoting Kitchen, 961 F. Supp. 2d at 1202-03). The courts have routinely protected the choices and circumstances defining sexuality, family, marriage, and procreation. As the Supreme Court found in Windsor, “[m]arriage is more than a routine classification for purposes of certain statutory benefits,” and “[p]rivate, consensual intimacy between two adult persons of the same sex... can form ‘but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring.’” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2693 (quoting Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 567). The court concludes that the right to marry should not be interpreted as narrowly as Defendants urge, but rather encompasses the ability of same-sex couples to marry...

[T]he right to marry is about the ability to form a partnership, hopefully lasting a lifetime, with that one special person of your choosing. Additionally, although Indiana previously defined marriage in this manner, the title of Section 31-11-1-1 - “Same sex marriages prohibited” - makes clear that the law was reaffirmed in 1997 not to define marriage but to prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying the individual of their choice. Thus, the court finds that Indiana’s marriage laws discriminate based on sexual orientation...

The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions - laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage - not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such. Today, the “injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood” ends. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2689 (citing Marriage Equality Act, 2011 N.Y. Laws 749). Because “[a]s the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.” Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 579...


Pursuant to the reasoning contained above, the court DECLARES that Indiana Code §31-11-1-1(a), both facially and as applied to Plaintiffs, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause. Additionally, the court DECLARES that Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1(b), both facially and as applied to Plaintiffs, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Because this is a facial challenge, same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana.

Having found that Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1 and the laws in place enforcing such violate the Plaintiffs’ rights under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and those acting in concert with them are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing Indiana Code Section 31-11-1-1 and other Indiana laws preventing the celebration or recognition of same-sex marriages. Additionally, Defendants and officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing or applying any other state or local law, rule, regulation or ordinance as the basis to deny marriage to same-sex couples otherwise qualified to marry in Indiana, or to deny married same-sex couples any of the rights, benefits, privileges, obligations, responsibilities, and immunities that accompany marriage in Indiana...”

Chief Judge Richard L. Young, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, June 25, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision

Thursday, June 19, 2014

US Acts on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Legislation

"As President Obama has stated, the Government of Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship. We announced in April a series of initial responses, and we have since considered how further to reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Today, we are announcing several additional steps. Specifically, the Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals. In addition, the United States will take steps, consistent with current authorities, to prevent entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption. We are also discontinuing or redirecting funds for certain additional programs involving the Ugandan Police Force, Ministry of Health, and National Public Health Institute, and cancelling plans to hold a U.S. military-sponsored aviation exercise in Uganda.

... [W]e continue - in Uganda and around the world - to oppose discriminatory practices and champion human rights for all."

National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, June 19, 2014.

Kentucky AG Won't Defend Discrimination

"As Attorney General, I have vowed to the people of Kentucky to uphold my duty under the law and to do what is right, even if some disagreed with me. In evaluating how best to proceed as the Commonwealth’s chief lawyer in light of Judge Heyburn’s recent ruling, I have kept those promises in mind.

When the Governor and I were first named as the technical defendants in this lawsuit, my duty as Attorney General was to provide the Commonwealth with a defense in the federal district court, and to frame the proper legal defenses. Those who passed the statutes and the voters who passed the constitutional amendment deserved that, and the Office of Attorney General performed its duty. However, it’s my duty to defend both the Kentucky Constitution and the Constitution of the United States.

The temporary stay we sought and received on Friday allowed me time to confer with my client and to consult with state leaders about my impending decision and the ramifications for the state.

I have evaluated Judge Heyburn’s legal analysis, and today am informing my client and the people of Kentucky that I am not appealing the decision and will not be seeking any further stays.

From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right, and in light of other recent federal decisions, these laws will not likely survive upon appeal. We cannot waste the resources of the Office of the Attorney General pursuing a case we are unlikely to win.

There are those who believe it’s my mandatory duty, regardless of my personal opinion, to continue to defend this case through the appellate process, and I have heard from many of them. However, I came to the inescapable conclusion that, if I did so, I would be defending discrimination.

That I will not do. As Attorney General of Kentucky, I must draw the line when it comes to discrimination.

The United States Constitution is designed to protect everyone’s rights, both the majority and the minority groups. Judge Heyburn’s decision does not tell a minister or a congregation what they must do, but in government ‘equal justice under law’ is a different matter.

I am also mindful of those from the business community who have reached out to me in the last few days encouraging me not to appeal the decision. I agree with their assessment that discriminatory policies hamper a state’s ability to attract business, create jobs and develop a modern workforce.

I prayed over this decision. I appreciate those who provided counsel, especially my remarkable wife, Elizabeth. In the end, this issue is really larger than any single person and it’s about placing people above politics. For those who disagree, I can only say that I am doing what I think is right. In the final analysis, I had to make a decision that I could be proud of – for me now, and my daughters’ judgment in the future.

May we all find ways to work together to build a more perfect union, and to build the future Commonwealth in which we want to live, work and raise all of our families."

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, March 4, 2014.

    click here to watch video of statement

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Wisconsin

“... I am granting plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and denying defendants’ motion to dismiss because I conclude that the Wisconsin laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples interfere with plaintiffs’ right to marry, in violation of the due process clause, and discriminate against plaintiffs on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the equal protection clause.

In reaching this decision, I do not mean to disparage the legislators and citizens who voted in good conscience for the marriage amendment. To decide this case in favor of plaintiffs, it is not necessary, as some have suggested, to “cast all those who cling to traditional beliefs about the nature of marriage in the role of bigots or superstitious fools, ”United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2717-18 (2013) (Alito, J., dissenting), or “adjudg[e] those who oppose [same-sex marriage]... enemies of the human race.” Id. at 2709 (Scalia, J., dissenting). Rather, it is necessary to conclude only that the state may not intrude without adequate justification on certain fundamental decisions made by individuals and that, when the state does impose restrictions on these important matters, it must do so in an even-handed manner.

This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion, whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged. It is not even about whether the plaintiffs in this case are as capable as opposite-sex couples of maintaining a committed and loving relationship or raising a family together. Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution...


... It is DECLARED that art. XIII, §13 of the Wisconsin Constitution violates plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marry and their right to equal protection of laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Any Wisconsin statutory provisions, including those in Wisconsin Statutes chapter 765, that limit marriages to a “husband” and a “wife,” are unconstitutional as applied to same-sex couples. ...”

Judge Barbara B. Crabb, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, June 6, 2014.

           click here to read entire decision

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Pennsylvania

"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...

... Defendants have failed to carry their burden, and we conclude that the classification imposed by the Marriage Laws based on sexual orientation is not substantially related to an important governmental interest. Accordingly, we hold that the Marriage Laws violate the principles of equal protection and are therefore unconstitutional.

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 its 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.” See Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), overruling Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). 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 a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

An appropriate Order shall issue."

Judge John E. Jones III, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, May 20, 2014.

     click here to read the entire decision


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Oregon

"... Expanding the embrace of civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples will not burden any legitimate state interest. The attractiveness of marriage to opposite-gender couples is not derived from its inaccessibility to same-gender couples. 0ee Perry, 704 F. Supp. 2d at 972 ("Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite­sex marriages."). The well-being of Oregon's children is not enhanced by destabilizing and limiting the rights and resources available to gay and lesbian families. See Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 962 F. Supp. 2d 968, 994~95 (S.D. Ohio 2013) ("The only effect the bans have on children's well-being is harming the children of same-sex couples who are denied the protection and stability of having parents who are legally married.").

The state's marriage laws unjustifiably treat same-gender couples differently than opposite-gender couples. The laws assess a couple's fitness for civil marriage based on their sexual orientation: opposite-gender couples pass; same-gender couples do not. No legitimate state purpose justifies the preclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage...

It is at times difficult to see past the shrillness of the debate. Accusations of religious bigotry and banners reading "God Hates Fags" make for a messy democracy and, at times, test the First Amendment resolve of both sides. At the core of the Equal Protection Clause, however, there exists a foundational belief that certain rights should be shielded from the barking crowds; that certain rights are subject to ownership by all and not the stake hold of popular trend or shifting majorities.

My decision will not be the final word on this subject, but on this issue of marriage I am struck more by our similarities than our differences. I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.

Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other... and rise.


... The Court finds that there is no legitimate state interest that would justify the denial of the full and equal recognition, attendant rights, benefits, protections, privileges, obligations, responsibilities, and immunities of marriage to same-gender couples solely on the basis that those couples are of the same gender...

The Court hereby DECLARES that Article 1S, section SA, of the Oregon Constitution violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that as such it is void and unenforceable. Defendants and their officers, agents, and employees are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing Article 1S, section SA, of the Oregon Constitution.

The Court also DECLARES that ORS 106.010, ORS 106.041(1), and ORS 106.1S0(1) violate the Equal Protection Clause and are unenforceable to the extent that they would prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same gender, or would deny same-gender couples the right to marry with full and equal recognition, attendant rights, benefits, privileges, obligations, responsibilities, and immunities of marriage, where the couple would be otherwise qualified to marry under Oregon law. Defendants and their officers, agents, and employees are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing or applying those statutes-or any other state or local law, rule, regulation, or ordinance-as the basis to deny marriage to same-gender couples otherwise qualified to marry in Oregon, or to deny married same-gender couples any of the rights, benefits, privileges, obligations, responsibilities, and immunities that accompany marriage in Oregon.

The Court DECLARES that the Equal Protection Clause requires recognition of marriages of same-gender couples legally performed in other jurisdictions, where those marriages are in all other respects valid under Oregon law, and that no state or local law, rule, regulation, or ordinance can deny recognition of a same-gender couple's marriage validly performed in another jurisdiction. The Court PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants and their officers, agents, and employees from denying that recognition."

Judge Michael J. McShane, US District Court for the District of Oregon, May 19, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision (Opinion and Order in Geiger v. Kitzhaber (6:13-cv-01834)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Idaho

"This case asks a basic and enduring question about the essence of American government: Whether the will of the majority, based as it often is on sincere beliefs and democratic consensus, may trump the rights of a minority. Plaintiffs are two same-sex couples who desire to marry in Idaho and two same-sex couples who legally married in other states and wish to have their marriages recognized in Idaho. Under the Constitution and laws of the State of Idaho (Idaho’s Marriage Laws), marriage between a man and a woman is the only legally recognized domestic union. Idaho effectively prohibits same-sex marriage and nullifies same-sex marriages legally celebrated in other states. Plaintiffs request the Court declare these laws unconstitutional and enjoin Idaho from enforcing them, which would allow the Unmarried Plaintiffs to marry and the Married Plaintiffs to be legally recognized as married in the state they consider home.

Although 17 states legally recognize same-sex marriages, Idaho is one of many states that has chosen the opposite course. Like courts presiding over similar cases across the country, the Court must examine whether Idaho’s chosen course is constitutional. Significantly, the Supreme Court of the United States recently held that the federal government cannot constitutionally define marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013). Writing for the majority in Windsor, Justice Kennedy reasoned the “purpose and effect” of the federal man-woman marriage definition was “to disparage and injure” legally married same-sex couples in derogation of the liberty, due process, and equal protection guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Here, the Court considers a related but distinct question: Do Idaho’s Marriage Laws deny Plaintiffs the due process or equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

After careful consideration, the Court finds Idaho’s Marriage Laws unconstitutional. This conclusion reaffirms longstanding maxim underlying our system of government - a state’s broad authority to regulate matters of state concern does not include the power to violate an individual’s protected constitutional rights... Idaho’s Marriage Laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental right to marry and relegate their families to a stigmatized, second-class status without sufficient reason for doing so. These laws do not withstand any applicable level of constitutional scrutiny...

This principle resonates today, as 10 federal courts across the country have in recent months reached similar conclusions on the very issues present in this case. Considering many of the same arguments and much of the same law, each of these courts concluded that state laws prohibiting or refusing to recognize same-sex marriage fail to rationally advance legitimate state interests. This judicial consensus was forged from each court’s independent analysis of Supreme Court cases extending from Loving through Romer, Lawrence, and Windsor. The logic of these precedents virtually compels the conclusion that same-sex and opposite-sex couples deserve equal dignity when they seek the benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage. Because Idaho’s Marriage Laws do not withstand any applicable form of constitutional scrutiny, the Court finds they violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Plaintiffs are entitled to extraordinary remedies because of their extraordinary injuries. Idaho’s Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho’s Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status.  Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love.

The Defendants offered no evidence that same-sex marriage would adversely affect opposite-sex marriages or the well-being of children. Without proof, the Defendants’ justifications echo the unsubstantiated fears that could not prop up the anti-miscegenation laws and rigid gender roles of days long past. Then as now, it is the duty of the courts to apply the law to the facts in evidence. Here, the facts are clear and the law teaches that marriage is a fundamental right of all citizens, which neither tradition nor the majority can deny.

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection lie at the core of our constitutional system. While the Supreme Court has not expressly decided the issues of this case, it has over the decades marked the path that leads to today’s decision. “[T]he history of our Constitution... is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded.” United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 557 (1996). Slow as the march toward equality may seem, it is never in vain...

The Court hereby DECLARES that Idaho's Marriage Laws are unconstitutional because they violate Plaintiffs' rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, May 13, 2014.

           click here to read entire decision

Monday, May 12, 2014

Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Arkansas

"...The defendants offer several rationalizations for the disparate treatment of same-sex couples such as the basic premise of the referendum process, procreation, that denying marriage protections to same-sex couples and their families is justified in the name of protecting children, and continuity of the laws and tradition. None of these reasons provide a rational basis for adopting the amendment. The state defendants contend that this court must follow the last pronouncement by Arkansas voters, as long as the ban does not violate a fundamental right of the United States Constitution. They argue that the Arkansas Constitution can be amended by the people, and three out of four voters in the 2004 general election said that same-sex couples cannot marry. This position is unsuccessful from both a federal and state constitution perspective. Article 2, § 2 of the Arkansas Constitution guarantees Arkansans certain inherent and inalienable rights, including the enjoyment of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In this case, Article 2 § 2 was left intact by the voters, but in Amendment 83 they singled out same-sex couples for the purpose of disparate treatment. This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality. The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent. Furthermore, the fact that Amendment 83 was popular with voters does not protect it from constitutional scrutiny as to federal rights. "The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts." W.Va. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624,638 (1943). The Constitution guarantees that all citizens have certain fundamental rights. These rights vest in every person over whom the Constitution has authority and, because they are so important, an individual's fundamental rights "may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." Id. at 638...

Procreation is not a prerequisite in Arkansas for a marriage license. Opposite-sex couples may choose not to have children or they may be infertile, and certainly we are beyond trying to protect the gene pool. A marriage license is a civil document and is not, nor can it be, based upon any particular faith. Same-sex couples are a morally disliked minority and the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is driven by animus rather than a rational basis. This violates the United States Constitution...

The strength of our nation is in our freedom which includes, among others, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to marry, the right to bear arms, the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, the right of privacy, the right of due process and equal protection, and the right to vote regardless of race or sex. The court is not unmindful of the criticism that judges should not be super legislators. However, the issue at hand is the fundamental right to marry being denied to an unpopular minority. Our judiciary has failed such groups in the past...

...The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage for no rational basis violates the fundamental right to privacy and equal protection as described in Jegley and Cole, supra. The difference between opposite-sex and same-sex families is within the privacy of their homes.

THEREFORE, THIS COURT HEREBY FINDS the Arkansas constitutional and legislative ban on same-sex marriage through Act 144 of 1997 and Amendment 83 is unconstitutional.

It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.

Judge Christopher Charles Piazza, Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, Second Division, May 9, 2014.

     click here to read entire decision

"There is no evidence that Defendants, the State or its citizens were harmed by the entry of the Court's original order or that they will be harmed by the clarifications contained within the Final Order and Rule 54(b) certification. However, the same cannot be said of the Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples who have not been afforded the same measure of human dignity, respect and recognition by this state as their similarly situated, opposite-sex counterparts. A stay would operate to further damage Arkansas families and deprive them of equal access to the rights associated with marriage status in this state. Weighing all factors applicable to analyzing whether a stay should be granted, Defendants' Motion for Immediate Stay is DENIED."

Judge Christopher Charles Piazza, Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, Second Division, May 15, 2014.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

British PM Lauds First UK Same-Sex Marriages

"This weekend is an important moment for our country. For the first time, the couples getting married won’t just include men and women - but men and men; and women and women. After all the campaigning - not least by readers of PinkNews - we will at last have equal marriage in our country. Put simply, in Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay – the State will recognise your relationship as equal.
This is something that has been very important to me. I have been so lucky to find the most incredible lifelong partner in Sam and our marriage has been a very special part of the commitment we have made to each other. Of course any marriage takes work, requires patience and understanding, give and take - but what it gives back in terms of love, support, stability and happiness is immeasurable. That is not something that the State should ever deny someone on the basis of their sexuality. When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.

The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are. It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay. That is so important in trying to create an environment where people are no longer bullied because of their sexuality - and where they can realise their potential, whether as a great mathematician like Alan Turing, a star of stage and screen like Sir Ian McKellen or a wonderful journalist and presenter like Clare Balding.

... We are a nation that is growing stronger economically because of our long term economic plan. But I hope we can also be a country that is growing stronger socially because we value love and commitment equally. Let us raise a toast to that - and all those getting married this weekend."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, March 28, 2014; from his article in Pink News.


Feds Recognize Michigan Marriages

“I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government. These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. The Governor of Michigan has made clear that the marriages that took place on Saturday were lawful and valid when entered into, although Michigan will not extend state rights and benefits tied to these marriages pending further legal proceedings. For purposes of federal law, as I announced in January with respect to similarly situated same-sex couples in Utah, these Michigan couples will not be asked to wait for further resolution in the courts before they may seek federal benefits to which they are entitled.

Last June’s decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor was a victory for equal protection under the law and a historic step toward equality for all American families. The Department of Justice continues to work with its federal partners to implement this decision across the government.  And we will remain steadfast in our commitment to realizing our country’s founding ideals of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.”

US Attorney General Eric Holder, March 28, 2014.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Michigan

"Plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse (“plaintiffs”) challenge a November 2004 voter-approved amendment to the Michigan Constitution that prohibits same-sex marriage (hereinafter the “Michigan Marriage Amendment” or “MMA”), Mich. Const. Art. I, § 25. The Michigan Marriage Amendment states: “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” Plaintiffs maintain that the MMA violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and they seek to enjoin state and county officials from enforcing the provision and its implementing statutes.

After reviewing the evidence presented at the trial, including the testimony of various expert witnesses, the exhibits, and stipulations, and after considering all of the legal issues involved, the Court concludes that the MMA is unconstitutional and will enjoin its enforcement...

... The Court finds that the MMA impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest...

... the Court rejects the “optimal environment” justification because that goal is simply not advanced by prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. As Gates testified, there are thousands of same-sex couples currently raising thousands of children in Michigan, and these numbers have steadily increased over the past 20 years. Prohibiting gays and lesbians from marrying does not stop them from forming families and raising children. Nor does prohibiting same-sex marriage increase the number of heterosexual marriages or the number of children raised by heterosexual parents. There is, in short, no logical connection between banning same-sex marriage and providing children with an “optimal environment” or achieving “optimal outcomes.”...

... Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage. Nonetheless, these views cannot strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law. The same Constitution that protects the free exercise of one’s faith in deciding whether to solemnize certain marriages rather than others, is the same Constitution that prevents the state from either mandating adherence to an established religion, U.S. Const. amend I, or “enforcing private moral or religious beliefs without an accompanying secular purpose.” Perry, 704 F. Supp. 2d at 930-931 (citing Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 571 (2003)). As a result, tradition and morality are not rational bases for the MMA...

... Further, the Court rejects the contention that Michigan’s traditional definition of marriage possesses a heightened air of legitimacy because it was approved by voter referendum. The popular origin of the MMA does nothing to insulate the provision from constitutional scrutiny...

... In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” Tr. 2/25/14 p.40, state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2694. Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.

Accordingly    IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Senior Judge Bernard A. Friedman, US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, March 21, 2014.

  click here to read entire decision 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Academy Award Winner Jared Leto

"... This is for the 36 million brave souls who lost their lives to AIDS. And to anyone who ever felt injustice because of who they are or who they love. Tonight, I stand before the world, with you and for you."

Jared Leto Accepts Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the movie Dallas Buyers Club, March 2, 2014.

    click here to read entire speech and watch the video of it 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

AZ Gov Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

“... Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated . The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences. After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago. To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination. Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans. Thank you."   Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, February 26, 2014.

Federal Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Texas

"... The issue before this Court is whether Texas' current definition of marriage is permissible under the United States Constitution. After careful consideration, and applying the law as it must, this Court holds that Texas' prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due >process. Texas' current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason. Accordingly, the Court finds these laws are unconstitutional and hereby grants a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing Texas' ban on same-sex marriage ...

The role of the judiciary is to resolve disputes by applying the law to the facts of a particular controversy, independently and impartially. One of the court's main responsibilities is to ensure that individuals are treated equally under the law. Equal treatment of all individuals under the law is not merely an aspiration it is a constitutional mandate. Consequently, equal protection is at the heart of our legal system and is essential for the existence of a free society.

Today's Court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the United States Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution. Furthermore, Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals (Romer), has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals (Lawrence), and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently (Windsor).

Applying the United States Constitution and the legal principles binding on this Court by Supreme Court precedent, the Court finds that Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and corresponding provisions of the Texas Family Code are unconstitutional. These Texas laws deny Plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex. The Court finds this denial violates Plaintiffs' equal protection and due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ..."

Judge Orlando Garcia, US District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, February 26, 2014.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

US AG Urges State AGs Not to Defend Marriage Inequality

"This... is the essential duty to which all of us – as attorneys general – have been sworn: not just to win cases, but to see that justice is done. This is the cause that brings us together in Washington this week – working to confront the threats and seize the opportunities before us. And this is the extraordinary task with which the American people have entrusted the leaders in this room – and the challenge that all justice professionals are called to address: not merely to use our legal system to settle disputes and punish those who have done wrong, but to answer the kinds of fundamental questions – about fairness and equality – that have always determined who we are and who we aspire to be, both as a nation and as a people.

These are the questions that drove President Obama and me to decide, in early 2011, that Justice Department attorneys would no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. As I’ve said before, this decision was not taken lightly. Our actions were motivated by the strong belief that all measures that distinguish among people based on their sexual orientation must be subjected to a heightened standard of scrutiny – and, therefore, that this measure was unconstitutional discrimination. Last summer, the Supreme Court issued a historic decision – United States v. Windsor – striking down the federal government’s ban on recognizing gay and lesbian couples who are legally married. This marked a critical step forward, and a resounding victory for equal treatment and equal protection under the law.

More recently – and partly in response to the Windsor decision – a number of state attorneys general, including those in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia – and, just last week, Oregon – have reached similar determinations after applying heightened scrutiny to laws in their states concerning same-sex marriage. Any decisions – at any level – not to defend individual laws must be exceedingly rare.  They must be reserved only for exceptional circumstances. And they must never stem merely from policy or political disagreements – hinging instead on firm constitutional grounds. But in general, I believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation. And we must endeavor – in all of our efforts – to uphold and advance the values that once led our forebears to declare unequivocally that all are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity.

This bedrock principle is immutable. It is timeless. And it goes to the very heart of what this country has always stood for – even though, as centuries of advancement in the cause of civil rights have shown, our understanding of it evolves over time. As I said just after the Administration’s decision on DOMA was announced, America’s most treasured ideals were not put into action or given the full force of law in a single instant. On the contrary: our ideals are continually advanced as our justice systems – and our Union – are strengthened; and as social science, human experience, legislation, and judicial decisions expand the circle of those who are entitled to the protections and rights enumerated by the Constitution.

As we gather here in Washington today, I believe that our highest ideals – realized in the form of landmark Supreme Court rulings, from Brown to Zablocki, from Romer to Lawrence, from Loving to Windsor – light a clear path forward. They have impelled us, in some instances, to extraordinary action. And the progress we’ve seen has been consistent with the finest traditions of our legal system, the central tenets of our Constitution, and the “fundamental truth” that, as President Obama once said, “when all Americans are treated as equal... we are all more free."

As we come together this week to renew our commitment to the work we share, to steel our resolve to combat crime – and to pledge our continued fidelity to the values that guide us, and the Constitution we’ve sworn to uphold – we must strive to move our country forward. We must keep fighting against violence, safeguarding civil rights, and working to bring our justice system in line with our highest ideals. We must keep refusing to accept a status quo that falls short of that which our Constitution demands – and the American people deserve. And we must keep standing up and speaking out – no matter the challenges we face – to eradicate victimization and end injustice in all its forms.

This won’t always be easy – and, occasionally, but inevitably, our tactical paths will diverge. But as long as we are dedicated to working in common cause, determined to disagree with mutual respect, and devoted to our shared pursuit of a more just and more perfect Union – I am confident in where our collective efforts, and your steadfast leadership, will take us. I know, as this organization proves every day, that vigorous debate need not be subsumed by partisanship. As attorneys general, we are called to serve. We are expected to lead.

Thank you, once again, for your work, for your partnership – and for the opportunity to take part in this important dialogue. I look forward to all that we’ll do and achieve together in the critical days ahead."

US Attorney General Eric Holder, February 25, 2014; remarks as prepared for delivery at the National Association of Attorneys General Winter Meeting.

Monday, February 24, 2014

AZ Congressman Slams Anti-Gay Law

The far right of the conservative movement has been using our state as a petri dish for their anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-women, anti-education, anti-gun safety, anti-gay agenda for years now, and it needs to stop. Arizonans did not ask for this bill or any other form of state-sanctioned discrimination. It doesn’t help our economy, create any jobs, attract any talented people to our state or provide a more welcome environment for visitors. Our unemployment rate is too high. Our schools need more funding. What this has to do with the real-world concerns of average Arizonans is beyond me.

US Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), February 24, 2014.

McCain Urges Veto of AZ Anti-Gay Law

"I hope Governor Brewer will veto SB1062."  Tweet by US Senator John McCain (AZ -Rep), February 24, 2014; on statute legalizing state-sanctioned LGBT discrimination passed by Arizona legislature, awaiting signature or veto by Arizona governor.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Illinois Gov Lauds Same-Sex Marriage Move-Up

Many couples in Illinois have waited long enough for marriage equality, and today’s ruling means thousands of Illinois couples no longer have to wait. Our law is a victory for equal rights in America, and shows that citizens and lawmakers can come together on issues of fairness and human rights. I applaud U.S. District Court Judge Sharon J. Coleman for her stance in recognizing that ‘there is no reason to delay further’ giving all couples the right to marry in Cook County. Every county across the state should enjoy the same freedom without having to wait until June."

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, February 21, 2014; state marriage equality law to go into effect June 1, 2014, is made effective immediately in Cook County (Chicago) as result of Federal court ruling.

[good luck finding primary source for court decision - hidden behind layers of access security]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Federal Court - Kentucky Must Recognize Legal Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages

"... [T]he Court concludes that Kentucky’s denial of recognition for valid same-sex marriages violates the United States Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review. Accordingly, Kentucky’s statutes and constitutional amendment that mandate this denial are unconstitutional. ...

... to date, all federal courts that have considered same-sex marriage rights post-Windsor have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage rights. This Court joins in general agreement with their analyses. ...

Our religious beliefs and societal traditions are vital to the fabric of society. Though each faith, minister, and individual can define marriage for themselves, at issue here are laws that act outside that protected sphere. Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition, it must do so constitutionally. It cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it. Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law, does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.

The beauty of our Constitution is that it accommodates our individual faith’s definition of marriage while preventing the government from unlawfully treating us differently. This is hardly surprising since it was written by people who came to America to find both freedom of religion and freedom from it. ...

What this opinion does, however, is make real the promise of equal protection under the law. It will profoundly affect validly married same-sex couples’ experience of living in the Commonwealth and elevate their marriage to an equal status in the eyes of state law. ...

For many others, this decision could raise basic questions about our Constitution. For instance, are courts creating new rights? Are judges changing the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment or our Constitution? Why is all this happening so suddenly?

The answer is that the right to equal protection of the laws is not new. History has already shown us that, while the Constitution itself does not change, our understanding of the meaning of its protections and structure evolves. If this were not so, many practices that we now abhor would still exist. ...

... [T]he Supreme Court has moved interstitially, as Holmes said it should, establishing the framework of cases from which district judges now draw wisdom and inspiration. Each of these small steps has led to this place and this time, where the right of same-sex spouses to the state-conferred benefits of marriage is virtually compelled."

Judge John G. Heyburn II, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky at Louisville, February 12, 2014.

      click here to read entire decision