Marriage Equality USA

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Policy and Legal Update - September 30-October 6, 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

September 30 - October 6, 2013



  • On 27 September 2013, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 1,563 Hispanic Americans from a representative sample of U.S. adults regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 55% favor it, 43% do not, with 2% unaccounted for. Also, regarding candidate preferences, likely Hispanic voters prefer Democrats 58%, Republicans 28%, and others 12%, with 2% unaccounted for.  •  Survey Details
  • On 4 October 2013, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,776 American adults on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that among registered voters, 57% support it, 36% do not, and 6% do not know or give no answer.  Among Roman Catholics (where no clergy support same-gender civil marriage at all), 60% of churchgoers support it, 31% don't, and 9% do not know or give no answer.  •  Survey Details


  • On 30 September 2013, U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D- Washington) and Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), the top Democrats on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, told the U.S. Department of Defense to ensure that military spouse benefits are issued to all armed forces personnel in same-gender civil marriages, including states which have denied some benefits applications, such as IN, LA, MS, OK, SC, and TX.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  Survey Details


MASSACHUSETTS  •  On 2 October 2013, in Shannon McLaughlin, et al. v. Chuck Hagel, et al., a Federal district court ruled in favor of 8 same-gender couples and awarded them equal pay/benefits for active/veteran military personnel, retroactively to 2011.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 1 October 2013, in Pennsylvania Health Department v. Montgomery County Court Clerk Bruce Hanes, the county appealed to the PA Supreme Court a lower court ruling that halted the issuance of same-gender civil marriage licenses after 174 licenses were issued.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 26 September 2013, in Cara Palladino & Isabelle Barker v. PA Governor Corbett et al., a couple filed a federal suit to force PA to recognize their 2005 MA marriage.  The Equality Forum suit raises two new federal constitutional questions:  whether states must respect laws from other states, and whether citizens can travel between states without losing rights.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source WEST VIRGINIA  •  On 1 October 2013, in Casie Jo McGee, et al. v. Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole, et al., Fairness WV and Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit for three couples challenging the state law that bans marriage equality.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW JERSEY  •  On 30 September 2013, in Garden State Equality, et al. v. NJ Attorney General Paula Dow, et al., Lambertville, NJ mayor David DelVecchio committed to performing NJ’s first same-gender civil marriage as soon as the ruling goes into effect on 21 October 2013.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source NEW JERSEY  •  On 1 October 2013, in Garden State Equality, et al. v. NJ Attorney General Paula Dow, et al., NJ Acting Attorney General John Hoffman appealed directly to the NJ Supreme Court (bypassing the NJ appeals court), and asked for expedited review.  Hoffman also asked the Superior Court to delay implementation of its ruling until after the Supreme Court review, which Lambda Legal opposes.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 30 September 2013, in Joanne Harris, et al. v. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell et al., the ACLU, ACLU Virginia, and Lambda Legal filed a federal class action lawsuit for two couples seeking full marriage equality for all VA residents, including couples married elsewhere.  On 30 September 2013, ACLU and Lambda Legal asked for a summary judgment.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source KENTUCKY  •  On 1 October 2013, in Gregory Bourke & Michael Deleon v. Kentucky, KY Attorney General Clay Barkley asked a federal court to dismiss the case, claiming that the plaintiffs have no standing to bring this lawsuit.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS  •  On 9 September 2013, 16 TX state representatives told the TX Military Forces to:  (1) stop denying equal pay and benefits to all same-gender married military couples at all TX National Guard facilities, (2) stop denying membership in family readiness groups, and (3) stop denying participation in marriage enrichment retreats.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source TEXAS  •  On 13 September 2013, in Alicia Butler & Judith Chedville vs. Texas, Lambda Legal told the TX Military Forces that since 3 September 2013 it has been unlawful to deny equal federal pay and benefits to any same-gender married military couple, and the TX ban on same-gender civil marriage does not exempt TX from compliance.  Chedville is an Army nurse and Iraq war veteran, and a 1st Lieutenant in the Army National Guard.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 18 July 2013, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., a gay couple filed a federal lawsuit challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage, joined by a lesbian couple seeking to have their 2008 CA marriage recognized in VA.  On 30 September 2013, AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights), the sole sponsor of the lawsuit which defeated CA Proposition 8, joined this lawsuit to win full federal marriage equality nationwide.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source VIRGINIA  •  On 3 October 2013, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., VA Attorney General (and candidate for governor) Ken Cucinelli filed a brief in federal court arguing that same-gender civil marriage should be banned because:  (1) some religious beliefs from the 1500s also ban it; (2) some dictionaries still describe marriage as only between mixed-gender couples; and (3) some mixed-gender couples procreate.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW JERSEY  •  On 4 October 2013, in Garden State Equality, et al. v. NJ Attorney General Paula Dow, et al., plaintiffs told the court that NJ has failed to prove it risks any irreparable harm if it issues licenses, and has failed to prove that it is likely to win its appeal, and therefore asked the court to not delay the implementation of its ruling.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


NEW MEXICO  •  On 1 October 2013, Anzalone Liszt Grove Research surveyed 502 registered NM voters regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 51% support it (35% strongly; 16% somewhat), 42% oppose it (34% strongly, 8% somewhat) and 7% do not know or refused to answer.  Regarding a constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, 54% oppose it (42% strongly, 12% somewhat), 38% support it (32% strongly, 6% somewhat), and 8% do not know or refused to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 3 October 2013, state Representative Brian Sims (D) introduced House Bill 1686, the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act, to legalize same-gender civil marriage.  The bill is supported by 32 lawmakers (31 Democrats, 1 Republican).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source NEW JERSEY  •  On 2 October 2013, Assemblyman Chris Brown (R) reversed his 2012 vote, and now supports marriage equality.  To override the governor’s 2012 veto by mid-January 2014, only 10 more lawmakers are needed (3 Senators to reach 27 out of 40 and 7 Assemblymen to reach 54 out of 80).  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


NEVADA  •  On 2 October 2013, Retail Association of Nevada surveyed 500 likely NV voters regarding repeal of the constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 57% favor repeal, and 36% do not, with 7% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source   OREGON  •  On 4 October 2013, the Oregon Business Association, which represents over 300 businesses, endorsed the Freedom-to-Marry & Religious Protection Initiative, following the Portland Business Alliance.  Volunteers have collected over 90,000 signatures toward placing the issue on the November 2014 ballot.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source
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