Gay Primary Source

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