Marriage Equality USA

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Policy and Legal Update - February 3-9, 2014

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

February 3 – 9, 2014

NATIONAL MAP


NATIONAL POLLS


NATIONAL LEGISLATION


LAWSUITS

MICHIGAN  •  On 6 February 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a suit challenging the MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married, the plaintiffs sought to ban the testimony of sociology professor Mark Regnerus because his flawed methods, rejection by peers, lack of qualifications, unreliability, irrelevance don’t meet the minimum requirements for federal evidence.  Trial is scheduled for 25 February 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 6 February 2014, in Jonell Evans, et al. v. State of Utah, a case seeking immediate recognition of all marriages between same-gender couples who were married from 20 December 2013 through 6 January 2014, the plaintiffs asked for an expedited hearing.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source LOUISIANA  •  On 27 January 2014, in Jonathan Robicheaux and Derek Pinton, et al. v. LA Attorney General James Caldwell, a federal case challenging the LA constitutional amendment and state law banning same-gender civil marriage, and banning LA recognition of same-gender couples married elsewhere, Judge Martin Feldman denied a request to un-consolidate this case (#2013-cv-05090) from another case (#2014-cv-00097).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source ARKANSAS  •  On 31 January 2014, in Rita & Pam Jernigan et al. v. Crane et al., a federal lawsuit seeking same-gender civil marriages, AR asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit challening the 2004 AR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source WISCONSIN  •  On 3 February 2014, in Virginia Wolf & Carol Schumacher, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al., ACLU filed a federal lawsuit for 4 couples challenging the 2006 WI ban on same-gender civil marriage or civil union, and WI's unique ban on marrying elsewhere, for which each spouse faces up to $10,000 in fines and 9 months in prison as soon as they return to WI.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE LEGISLATION & POLLS

ARIZONA  •  On 5 February 2014, the Camp Verde, AZ council voted against recognizing civil unions for same-gender couples.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 29 January 2014, UT state Representative Merrill Nelson proposed a law so that citizens can donate funds via their UT tax return for legalizing discrimination against same-gender couples.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source KANSAS  •  On 6 February 2014, HB-2453, which would legalize discrimination by individuals, businesses, and government against same-gender couples whenever the excuse is religious beliefs, passed from committee to the full House for a vote.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source INDIANA  •  IN Republicans criminalized the performance of any religious ceremony that religiously marries two people of the same gender, starting 1 July 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 27 January 2014, state Rep. Jacob Anderegg (R) introduced 2 bills (HB-231, HJR-1) that would prevent clergy from being forced to solemnize marriages against their beliefs.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 3 Febuary 2014, the Republican-led VA House of Representatives passed HB-706, a bill that would let any state lawmaker defend the VA ban on same-gender civil marriage in place of the governor and attorney general.  The bill also needs approval of the VA Senate, then the VA governor.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source WEST VIRGINIA  •  On 4 February 2014, the Morgantown, WV City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting marriage equality in the WV legislature.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source ARIZONA  •  On 4 February 2014, an AZ House Government Committee passed HB-2153, which legalizes discrimination against LGBT people whenever the perpetrator claims religious beliefs as the excuse for the discrimination. SB-1062 also passed its respective committee in the AZ Senate.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source TEXAS  •  On 4 February 2014, Bexar County, TX extended health benefits to county workers' same-gender spouses.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source ARIZONA  •  On 5 February 2014, an AZ House committee approved a bill to legalize discrimination against LGBT people whenever religious belief is the excuse.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TENNESSEE  •  On 6 February 2014, TN state Senator Brian Kelsey (R) and Representative Bill Dunn (R) proposed SB-2566 and HB-2467, to legalize discrimination against same-gender couples in domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriages, whenever the discrimination is excused by claims of religious belief.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source KENTUCKY POLLS  •  On WKYT-TV, WHAS-TV, and 2 newspapers surveyed 1,082 registered voters on same-gender civil marriage, and  reported that 55% oppose it, 35% support it, and 10% aren’t sure.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source WISCONSIN POLLS  •  On 29 October 2013, Marquette University surveyed 800 WI registered voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 53% support it, 24% support only civil union, 19% oppose all legal recognition of same-gender couples, with 4% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE BALLOTS & POLLS

OHIO  •  On 9 February 2014, FreedomOhio announced it has gathered 650,000 petition signatures, hopes to reach 1,000,000 by summer, and will decide later whether the statewide vote occurs in 2014 or 2016.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source Send questions and comments to:  NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.

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