Gay Primary Source

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