Marriage Equality USA

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Policy and Legal Update - January 20-26, 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 20 – 26, 2014



  • On 8 December 2013, Anzalone Liszt Grove Research surveyed 800 registered voters in states where same-gender couples could not marry about whether they should be able to marry, and reported that51% said yes, 41% said no, with 8% unaccounted for.  Among non-equality states, support is strongest in central  states (59% to 36%), then western states (53% to 34%), then southern states (46% to 46%).  Among non-equality states nationwide, 56% of voters expect same-gender civil marriage to be legal within 2 years, and 78% expect minimal or a positive impact.  •  News Source



UTAH  •  On 16 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, UT decided to pay $300,000 to the 3 attorneys who, with help from 2 UT attorney general staff attorneys, will argue to ban same-gender civil marriage before the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  Their fee for the U.S. Supreme Court appeal would be similar.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source FLORIDA  •  On 21 January 2014, in Catherina Pareto, et al., v. Miami-Dade County Court Clerk Harvey Ruvin, 6 same-gender couples, represented by National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Equality Florida Institute, sued FL for marriage rights.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 21 January 2014, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., a federal challenge to UT’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, the Appeals Court allowed UT 7 extra days to prepare, so the opening brief is due 3 February, the response brief 25 February, and any reply brief 4 March, with oral arguments in March or April.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source UTAH  •  On 21 January 2014, in Jonell Evans, et al. v. State of Utah, ACLU sued UT in state court (a) for ignoring the marriages of 2,600 people who were legally married as same-gender couples in UT, and (b) for harming their childen.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source IDAHO  •  On 22 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 judge allowed the ID attorney general to intervene.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEVADA  •  On 22 January 2014, in Beverly Sevcik, et al., v. Governor Brian Sandoval, et al., a lawsuit seeking full marriage equality, NV’s brief argued that same-gender civil marriage should be banned because mixed-gender marriage should be promoted.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OREGON #2 & #4  •  On 23 January 2014, the federal court combined the cases of Deanna Geiger et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber et al., two women challenging OR’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and OR’s refusal to recognize legal marriages from other jurisdictions with the case of Paul Rummell, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al., two Portland couples challenging OR’s ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MICHIGAN  •  On 3 January 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a federal case challenging the constitutionality of the MI’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, lawyers from ACLU and G&LA&D joined the plaintiff legal team.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 21 January 2014, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., a federal case challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage, the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked the court to follow the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recent ruling, and apply heightened scrutiny (the assumption that a law is probably discriminatory) when evaluating VA’s marriage ban.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OKLAHOMA  •  On 24 January 2014, 2 of the 4 plaintiffs appealed the district court’s ruling that they don’t have standing to challenge:  (1) OK’s refusal to recognize their CA marriage, (2) part B of the Oklahoma constitutional amendment, and (3) Defense of Marriage Act, Section 2.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 23 January 2014, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., a federal lawsuit challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage in VA or elsewhere, VA’s new attorney general, Mark Herring, said that VA’s ban on same-gender civil marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment (equal protection, due process), and that instead of defending the ban, he will join plaintiffs in two lawsuits arguing that it be struck down.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


VIRGINIA  •  On 20 January 2014, VA lawmakers voted to table Bill 939, which would have repealed the statutory bans -- without legalizing -- same-gender civil marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership.  The bills which would have repealed the constitutional ban are not being heard during this legislative session at all.  The earliest that voters could vote to repeal the constitutional ban is in 2016, which may be unnecessary if either federal lawsuit prevails before then.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW HAMPSHIRE  •  On 15 January 2014, Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,354 NH voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 60% support it, 29% oppose it, and 11% are unsure.  Regarding the impact of equal marriage since 2010, 66% reported no impact, 20% positive impact, and 14% negative impact.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OKLAHOMA  •  On 20 January 2014, state Representative Mike Turner introduced House Joint Resolution 1076, to put same-gender civil marriage, civil union, and domestic partnerhsip on a statewide ballot so that all three can be re-banned via the state constitution in 2014, just the way they were in 2004.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OKLAHOMA  •  On 20 January 2014, state Representative Mike Turner introduced the Preservation of Marriage Act (H. 2466) to outlaw same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source ILLINOIS  •  On 21 January 2014, IL state Senator Kyle McCarter (R) proposed SB-2637, a law to repeal the equal marriage law enacted in November 2012.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source COLORADO  •  On 21 January 2014, the CO state Senate preliminarily approved a bill letting same-gender couples married elsewhere file their CO state tax returns jointly.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source SOUTH DAKOTA  •  On 21 January 2014, 28 lawmakers introduced SB-66 (which would exempt clergy, non-clergy, and organizations from performing same-gender civil marriages), and 26 lawmakers introduced SB-67 (which would legalize discrimination against commercial customers on the basis of religious beliefs).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OKLAHOMA  •  On 25 January 2014, OK state Representative Mike Turner proposed banning all marriage statewide as a way to prevent any same-gender civil marriages being mandated via the courts in the lawsuit over the 2004 voter-approved ban.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


INDIANA  •  On 21 January 2014, IN House Speaker Brian Bosma moved the proposed equal marriage ban constitutional amendment bill from the House Judiciary Committee, where 3 members were reluctant to pass it, to the Elections and Apportionment Committee, where it passed, 9-to-3 (two of the bill’s authors are members).  A full House vote is next, then a Senate vote.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source FLORIDA POLLS  •  On 22 January 2014, Public Policy Polling surveyed 591 FL voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 47% approve, 44% disapprove, with 9% unsure.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source OREGON  •  On 23 January 2014, Oregon United for Marriage launched a student campaign at 8 schools, targeted toward adults aged 18-29.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OREGON  •  On 22 January 2014, religious support for same-gender civil marriage reached 57 congregations and faith organizations, with the addition of the Oregon Board of Rabbis, Oregon Area Jewish Committee, and Jewish Federation of Greater Portland.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source
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