Marriage Equality USA

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Policy and Legal Update - December 9-15, 2013

Marriage Equality USA Projects Manager Ned Flaherty closely monitors marriage equality polls, ballots, laws, and lawsuits nationwide, and keeps the MEUSA website updated with changes in these areas on a near-daily basis. Every Monday we update you via our blog with policy and legal updates covering the preceding week. You may always find the most up-to-date information, including changes that have taken place between these weekly posts, on the Current Policy & Legal Status page on the MEUSA website.

Policy & Legal Updates

December 9 – 15, 2013

NATIONAL MAP


NATIONAL POLLS


NATIONAL LEGISLATION

  • On 12 December 2013, U.S. Senator Mike Lee introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act(House #3133, Senate #1808), which would legalize discrimination against LGBT individuals, couples, and their children by governments, businesses, hospitals, and individuals.  Lawmakers favoring it include 12 Senators (11 Republicans, 1 Democrat).  Based on history, the chance of enactment is 1%.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

LAWSUITS

GEORGIA & TEXAS  •  On 9 December 2013, GA Army National Guard began to process spouse benefit applications for military personnel with same-gender spouses, leaving MS as the only state still unlawfully denying benefits.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 9 December 2013, in Cara Palladino & Isabelle Barker v. PA Governor Corbett et al., a couple suing to get PA to recognize their 2005 MA marriage, PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane sought to be dismissed as a defendant because her office was not involved in violating the plaintiffs’ rights.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS  •  On 11 December 2013, in Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al.,a federal class action lawsuit for all TX couples challenging the 2005 TX constitutional ban on marriage inside and outside TX, the judge agreed to hear the case starting 12 February 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source ARKANSAS  •  On 12 December 2013, in Kendall Wright et al. v. AR Governor Michael Beebe, et al.,11 same-gender couples challenging the 2004 AR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, the state law banning same-gender civil marriage, and the federal law allowing states to ignore same-gender marriages from other states, and also seeking parental rights, birth certificate names, insurance, and other benefits, asked that oher couples be allowed to marry during the suit, and defendants for Faulkner County and AR asked that the suit be dismissed, after which the judge gave no indication of when or how he might rule.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS & MISSISSIPPI  •  On 13 December 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed that MS had stopped discriminating, and that all 50 states deliver all benefits to same-gender spouses of Army National Guard personnel (active duty, dependents, retired).  IN and WV accept applications from and issue cards to everyone, but GA, LA, MS, and TX use only federal workers to enroll applicants and issue ID cards, and FL, OK, and SC moved the equipment to federal property, forcing all couples to travel longer distances.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW MEXICO  •  By 13 December 2013, 60% of NM residents were living in 8 of the 33 counties (Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Grant, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, San Miguel, Taos, Valencia) that were issuing marriage licenses, and over 1,700 same-gender couples had married.  Out of 7 NM lawsuits in 2013, 0 were defeats for marriage equality, 3 were victories for equality, and 4 remain pending, 1 of which is about to be decided by the NM Supreme Court.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MICHIGAN  •  On 13 December 2013, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., in a challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, the defendants asked that the trial not be split into 2 parts:  (1) constitutionality of marriage/adoption laws; and (2) deciding what scrutiny level is required when judging laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, and asked the court to ignore which level of judicial scrutiny applies to laws that discriminate against same-gender couples.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

STATE LEGISLATION & POLLS

NEW JERSEY  •  On 9 December 2013, the NJ Senate Judiciary Committee began considering S-3109, Marriage Equality Act, a new version which reduces some of the freedom of the current law, which was imposed after a NJ Supreme Court ruling on 21 October 2013, and which is the strongest in the nation.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source FLORIDA  •  On 12 December 2013, the Pensacola City Council approved several important domestic partner rights, joining at least 14 FL cities and counties representing 50% of FL residents.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

STATE BALLOTS & POLLS

INDIANA  •  On 9 December 2013, Evansville City Council voted to oppose the proposed state constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 11 December 2013, the Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania campaign was launched by Freedom to Marry and ACLU of Pennsylvania.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source COLORADO  •  On 9 December 2013, Public Policy Polling surveyed 928 CO voters (including 355 usual Republican primary voters) about same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 53% favor it, 39% oppose it, with 8% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source
Send questions and comments to:  NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.

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