Marriage Equality USA

Stay Informed

Policy and Legal Update - October 14-20, 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

October 14 – 20, 2013


  • On 18 October 2013, the NJ Supreme Court decided to start same-gender civil marriages on 21 October 2013, so MEUSA updated its National Marriage Map to reflect that 33% of Americans live in 15 states with full, state-level equality (CA, CT, DC, DE, IA, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA), and 17% live in cities, counties, or states with partial equality (mainly CO, HI, IL, NM, NV, OR, WI), but 50% live in 29 states that still ban all types of unions except one-man-one-woman couples.  •  Map


  • On 11 October 2013, Pew Research Center surveyed earlier polls, and reported that from 2001 to 2013, support for same-gender civil marriage grew from 35% to 50%, and opposition declined from 57% to 43%.  Opposition is strongest among evangelical Protestants, Republicans, and political conservatives, but even in those groups is rising, as older voters die off and younger people reach voting age.  •  Survey Details



CALIFORNIA  •  In 2008, the authors of CA Proposition 8 (NOM, Protect filed a federal lawsuit claiming that because they suffered boycotts, hate mail, phone calls, and unreported “death threats” they should be forever exempt from compliance with CA campaign disclosure laws, and their donors should stay secret.  The U.S. Supreme Court does make exceptions for small, persecuted groups who need anonymity to survive, but the Proposition 8 authors don’t qualify because they raised over $43 million and got 52% of the votes cast.  On 20 October 2011, the district court ruled against them.  On 11 October 2013, they argued their case in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 3 Ocober 2013, in National Organization for Marriage v. U.S. Internal Revenue Service, NOM filed a federal lawsuit claiming that IRS unlawfully released its confidential tax data.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NORTH CAROLINA  •  On 15 October 2013, in preparation for a lawsuit, Buncombe County, NC Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger began accepting marriage license applications from same-gender couples, and he asked NC Attorney General Roy Cooper to decide whether the NC statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source ALASKA  •  On 14 October 2013, in Debra Harris v. Millennium Hotel, et al., Lambda Legal appealed to the AK Supreme Court to obtain survivor benefits for same-gender couples, for whom marriage is banned by AK’s law and its constitution.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source OREGON  •  On 15 October 2013, in Deanna Geiger et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber et al., two couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging OR’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and OR’s refusal to recognize legal marriages from other jurisdictions.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source MICHIGAN  •  On 16 October 2013, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman denied both sides’ petitions for summary judgment, saying that he will expedite completion of the case, witness lists will be exchanged in October 2013, and expert testimony will be heard during a trial starting on 25 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 who are seeking to overturn the 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, will request a preliminary injunction and a declaratory judgment.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW JERSEY  •   On 18 Octobner 2013, in Garden State Equality, et al. v. NJ Attorney General Paula Dow, et al., the NJ Supreme Court ended a 12-year legal battle when it unanimously affirmed a Superior Court ruling that same-gender civil marriages may begin on 21 October 2013.  Despite the governor’s appeal which will get decided in 2014, the court concluded that starting marriages now benefits the couples, without harming the state.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW MEXICO  •  By 18 October 2013, NM county clerks had issued over 1,000 civil marriage licenses to same-gender couples, in advance of the NM Supreme Court hearing on 23 October 2013.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


OREGON  •  On 16 October 2013, the OR Department of Justice announced that all same-gender couples with legal marriages from elsewhere (and all common-law marriages from elsewhere) are fully eligible for marriage-related benefits in OR.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 16 Ocober 2013, Christopher Newport University surveyed 944 registered VA voters including 753 likely voters, and reported that 56% oppose VA’s 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and 36% favor it.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TENNESSEE  •  On 16 October 2013, Knoxville, TN expanded employee benefits coverage to include same-gender and opposite-gender domestic partners, effective 1 January 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


OREGON  •  On 19 October 2013, Intel Corporation, OR’s largest employer, joined Nike, Portland General Electric, Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Business Association, and Oregon Business Coalition to support marriage equality.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source
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