Marriage Equality USA

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Policy and Legal Update - March 24-30, 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

 

News reported March 24 – 30, 2014


NATIONAL MAP


NATIONAL POLLS

  • On 27 March 2014, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research surveyed 1,000 likely 2016 voters, and reported that 55% favor it, 40% do not, with 5% unaccounted for.  Separately, 62% believe same-gender civil marriage will be legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court, and 33% do not, with 5% unaccounted for.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE POLLS

WISCONSIN • On 26 March 2014, Marquette Law School surveyed 801 registered WI voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 48% support it, 24% support only civil union, and 24% support no legal recognition for same-gender couples, with 4% unaccounted for.  Separately, regarding the 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, 59% would repeal it, and 36% would continue it, with 5% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NATIONAL LEGISLATION PENDING


NATIONAL LEGISLATION ENACTED


LAWSUITS PENDING

ALABAMA • On 20 March 2014, in Paul Hard v. AL Governor Robert Bentley, et al., a federal lawsuit to: (1) overturn the 1998 AL law and the 2005 AL constitutional amendment which ban same-gender civil marriage; (2) issue a revised Death Certificate for Charles Fancher showing Paul Hard as the surviving spouse, based on their 2011 MA marriage; and (3) disburse the proceeds of a wrongful death suit to Paul Hard, Ms. Pat Fancher, mother of Charles Fancher, asked to intervene because (a) she opposes same-gender civil marriage; and (b) she wants to remain her deceased son’s next of kin and receive all the wrongful death proceeds of his estate.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source ARIZONA • On 24 March 2014, in Nelda Majors & Karen Bailey, et al. v. AZ Attorney General Tom Horne, et al., a federal lawsuit for 7 couples, and the surviving spouses of 2 additional same-gender couples, challenging the AZ 1996 and 1999 laws and the AZ 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, plaintiffs asked that their case be (1) merged with Joseph Connolly & Terrel Pochert, et. al., v. Pinal County Superior Court Clerk Chad Roche, and (2) decided by the same judge.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source LOUISIANA • On 18 March 2014, in Forum for Equality Louisiana v. Louisiana Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, et al., a federal case for 4 same-gender couples challenging the LA constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriages performed in LA or elsewhere, and challenging LA’s refusal to recognize both spouses as parents to children that are born to them or children that they adopt, the court consolidated this case into Jonathan Robicheaux & Derek Pinton, et al. v. LA Attorney General James Caldwell.  The common issues (equal protection; due process for recognizing out-of-state same-gender civil marriages) will be decided first; the non-common issues (1st Amendment; LA marriage rights; Full Faith and Credit between states) will be decided later.  The consolidation caused a revised 2014 schedule:  cross motions for summary judgment (due 17 April), amicus briefs (12 May), cross responses to motions (19 May), replies (2 June), oral arguments (25 June), ruling (1 July), appeal to 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (1 August).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source LOUISIANA • On 18 March 2014, in Jonathan Robicheaux & Derek Pinton, et al. v. LA Attorney General James Caldwell, a federal lawsuit for 2 couples challenging the LA constitutional amendment and state law banning same-gender civil marriage, and seeking LA recognition for same-gender couples married elsewhere, the court consolidated into this case Forum for Equality Louisiana v. Louisiana Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, et al., a federal suit for 4 same-gender couples challenging the LA constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriages performed in LA or elsewhere, and challenging LA’s refusal to recognize both spouses as parents to children that are born to them or children that they adopt.  The common issues (equal protection; due process for recognizing out-of-state same-gender civil marriages) will be decided first; the non-common issues (1st Amendment; LA marriage rights; Full Faith and Credit between states) will be decided later.  The consolidation caused a revised 2014 schedule:  cross motions for summary judgment (due 17 April), amicus briefs (12 May), cross responses to motions (19 May), replies (2 June), oral arguments (25 June), ruling (1 July), appeal to 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (1 August).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source WISCONSIN • On 24 March 2014, in Virginia Wolf & Carol Schumacher, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al., 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, the judge denied the WI motion to stay this case until the WI Supreme Court rules on the WI domestic partner registry case (Julaine Appling, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al.), saying that a such stay would be pointless, and scheduled the 2014 trial for August 25-29.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MICHIGAN • On 25 March 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al.,a challenge to the MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the district court ruling pending the outcome of the MI appeal.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PUERTO RICO • On 26 March 2014, in Ada Conde v. PR Health Secretary & Vital Records Registrar,an attorney filed a federal lawsuit to have her 2004 same-gender civil marriage from MA recognized in PR.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source  MICHIGAN • In late March 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al.,a federal challenge to MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married, and the constitutionality of the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, the court set the appeal deadlines:  7 May (MI brief), 9 June (plaintiff brief), and 26 June (MI response brief).    •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MISSOURI • On 26 March 2014, in Kerry Messer, et al. v. MO Governor Jeremiah Nixon, et al., the MO Family Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission and the MO Family Policy Council sued to stop MO from accepting tax returns from same-gender couples with legal civil marriages who file joint federal and MO returns, because the plaintiffs claim that they are already suffering “immediate and irreparable damage.”  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEVADA • On 27 March 2014, in SmithKline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories, one or more judges at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals requested re-review of this previously decided appeal (which both parties already decided not to pursue any further), so the court asked both parties to state by 17 April 2014 whether their case should be re-heard by all 11 judges of the 9th Circuit, after which the 11 judges will vote whether to re-review the case.  On 21 January 2014, the appeals court ruled that “heightened scrutiny” is the new standard by which all future sexual orientation discrimination cases will get decided, so that could change if all the court decides to re-hear the case by all 11 judges.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MICHIGAN • On 28 March 2014, In late March 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a federal challenge to MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married, and the constitutionality of the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the federal government is recognizing the 322 same-gender civil marriages performed in MI between the time that the MI marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional and the time that MI appealed that ruling, even though MI is ignoring those marriages.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TENNESSEE • On 25 March 2014, in Valeria Tanco, et al. v. TN Governor William Haslam, et al., a federal constitutional challenge to the TN law that bans recognition of same-gender civil marriages, TN asked the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay on the district court’s order banning TN from enforcing the TN ban on same-gender marriage against the 6 plaintiffs.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OHIO • On 28 march 2014, in Alfred Cowger & Anthony Wesley, Jr. v. Ohio & U.S. Government, et al., a federal lawsuit because the Affordable Care Act doesn’t recognize out-of-Ohio marriages, the plaintiffs dropped their case, after finally obtaining a family health insurance policy.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEBRASKA • On 28 March 2014, in Bonnie Nichols v. Nebraska, Ms. Nichols petitioned the NE Supreme Court for permission to divorce Margie Nichols, whom she married in IA in 2009.  In August 2013, a district court dismissed the case because the NE 2000 constitutional ban on same-gender marriage bars recognition of same-gender marriage and same-gender divorce.  The NE Attorney General is arguing before the state court of appeals that:  the NE marriage ban is irrelevant, and no one has any federal right to divorce.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA • On 28 March 2014, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA 4th Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer, et al., a federal lawsuit challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage and the ban on out-of-state marriages, VA court clerks argued that marriage is solely for the purpose of procreation between mixed-gender spouses, and that same-gender civil marriage would lead to legalization of incest.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source KENTUCKY • On 28 March 2014, in Timothy Love, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (formerly Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear), a federal lawsuit challenging KY’s ban on recognizing same-gender couples married elsewhere, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals set the briefing schedule:  KY principal brief (7 May 2014), plaintiffs’ principal brief appendix (9 June 2014), KY reply brief (26 June 2014).  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source TENNESSEE • On 28 Martch 2014, in Valeria Tanco, et al. v. TN Governor William Haslam, et al., a federal constitutional challenge to the TN law that bans recognition of same-gender civil marriage, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals set the briefing schedule:  TN principal brief (7 May 2014), plaintiffs’ principal brief appendix (9 June 2014), TN reply brief (26 June 2014).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

LAWSUITS RESOLVED


STATE LEGISLATION PENDING

MISSOURI • On 27 March 2014, MO state Representative Mike Colona (D) introduced HJR-85, which would repeal the 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage and legalize it.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source  MISSISSIPPI • On 27 March 2014, the MS Senate sent SB-2681, MS Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which would legalize discrimination whenever the discriminator claims religious belief as the excuse) to conference with the House, because the bill dies if a final version is not filed by 31 March 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE LEGISLATION ENACTED


STATE BALLOT MEASURES


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