Marriage Equality USA

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Policy and Legal Update - January 6-12, 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

January 6 – 12, 2014

NATIONAL MAP

  • On 7 January 2014, the David Pakman TV-radio show reported on national marriage equality progress provided by MEUSA’s Ned Flaherty.  •  News Source

NATIONAL POLLS


NATIONAL LEGISLATION

  • On 9 January 2014, U.S. Representative Randy Weber (R-TX) introduced the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (H.R. #3829), which would:  (1) force the federal government to ignore the legal civil marriages of same-gender couples who reside in any state that ignores such marriages; and (2) always dissolve or restore the legal civil marriage of every same-gender couple whenever one or both spouses cross a state border, and the state of entry treats same-gender couples differently than the state of exit.  Lawmakers favoring it include 28 Representatives (all Republicans, 11 from TX).  Based on history, the chance of enactment is 2%.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

LAWSUITS

MICHIGAN  •  On 3 January 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, the judge granted the plaintiffs’ request to split the trial into 2 parts.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 6 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., a case challenging Utah’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the district court ruling until the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is finished with the case.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source ARIZONA  •  On 6 January 2014, in Joseph Connolly, et. al., v. AZ Governor Jan Brewer, et al., four couples filed a class action lawsuit in federal court challenging the AZ’s 1996 statutory marriage ban and its 2004 constitutional marriage ban.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source COLORADO  •  On 6 January 2014, in Charlie Craig & David Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop et al.,the baker’s attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed an appeal of the court order to stop discriminating against same-gender couples.  Equality opponents often cite this famous case when they argue that marriage equality ends religious freedom and free speech.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS  •  On 7 January 2014, in Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al., a federal class action challenge to the 2005 TX constitutional ban on marriage inside and outside TX, the judge denied permission for anti-LGBT group Texas Values to file a friend-of-the-court brief (which cited work by discredited University of Texas assistant professor Dr. Mark Regnerus) because the brief cited no legal authority, and did nothing to resolve the legal issues.  Texas Values wrote that same-gender couples are inferior to mixed-gender couples, and that the American Psychological Association wrongly concluded that LGBT parents raise well-adjusted children.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 8 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., a challenge to UT’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) joined as co-counsel for the plaintiffs.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 8 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., a challenge to UT’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, the UT Attorney General said that for the 2,720 people who married a same-gender spouse from 20 December through 6 January, those marriages are doubtful, and their validity will be determined after appeals to the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 2014 and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.  In the meantime, recognition and benefits for those 2,720 citizens will be decided by a special review team, on a case-by-case basis.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 9 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., a challenge to UT’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, the UT Attorney General confirmed that a marriage certificate can be completed for each marriage that was performed prior to the decision to issue a stay.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source IDAHO  •  On 9 January 2014, in Sue Latta, et al. v. ID Governor C. L. Butch Otter, a federal lawsuit challenging the 2006 state constitutional amendment, and Idaho laws, banning same-gender civil marriage and civil union, the ID attorney general filed motions seeking (1) to dismiss the case on the premise that marriage is not a fundamental right, and (2) to intervene in the case.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 9 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., Human Rights Campaign asked the U.S. government to recognize all same-gender couples who were legally married in UT between 20 December 2013 and 6 January 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MISSOURI  •  On 8 January 2014, in MO Baptist Convention, et al. v. MO Governor Jay Nixon, et al.,anti-LGBT groups sued MO for accepting jointly filed tax returns from same-gender couples who were legally married in other states.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS  •  On 9 January 2014, 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 rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate two other suits (Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., and Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al.) into this one.  On 12 February 2014, the court will hear a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the ban during the litigation.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source TEXAS  •  On 31 October 2013, in Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., two same-gender couples filed a class action suit seeking equal marriage rights for all TX couples, and challenging the TX statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage.  On 9 January 2014, the judge forCleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al. rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate this case and Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al. into the De Leon case.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS  •  On 29 July 2013, in Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., a same-gender couple representing themselves sued for equal marriage rights, challenging the TX statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage.  On 9 January 2014, the judge for Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al. rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate this case and Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al. into the De Leon case.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 10 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., a federal lawsuit challenging UT’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, the U.S. government confirmed that it recognizes all same-gender civil marriages performed in UT from 20 December 2013 through 6 January 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE LEGISLATION & POLLS

COLORADO  •  On 10 January 2014, state Senator Pat Steadman proposed a law allowing same-gender couples who file federal tax returns as legally married to also file state tax returns using the same marital status.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA #3  •  On 8 January 2014, 9 state lawmakers (6 delegates, 3 senators) sponsored resolutions to repeal VA's 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH POLLS  •  On 3 January 2014, Google Consumer Surveys polled 500 adult Internet users in Utah (selected to match the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Survey based on gender, age, urbanicity, and income) regarding views on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 42% approve, 31% want no recognition at all, 24% approve only of civil unions, and 3% have other opinions.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 9 January 2014, spouse benefits for employees of Lehigh County, PA were canceled by new county executive Tom Muller because such benefits must be first approved by county commissioners, which he will ask them to do later this year.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MISSOURI  •  On 9 January 2014, MO Governor Jay Nixon (D) said that legally married couples (including same-gender couples legally married elsewhere) who file federal tax returns jointly now must also file MO tax returns jointly.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE BALLOTS & POLLS

INDIANA  •  On 9 January 2014, four Republican Representatives re-proposed HRJ-6 renamed as HJR-3, which would ban same-gender civil marriage, other unions, and related benefits via the state constitution.  If approved by the House Judiciary Committee, and then by the House and by the Senate, it would appear on the November 2014 ballot.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source
Send questions and comments to:  NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.

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