Here is a brief summary of developments in the battle for marriage equality. There are now 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal. There are six states – Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, and Ohio – where all or part of gay marriage bans have been overturned, all by federal courts; in most of those states, appeals are in process to federal Circuit Courts.
The developments in the last week:
Gay couples can now get Ill. marriage licenses
Chicago (AP) — Illinois' Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan says county clerks statewide can immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples even though the state law legalizing gay marriage doesn't take effect until June. A federal judge in Chicago ruled last month that Illinois' original ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, effectively making same-sex marriage legal in Illinois immediately.
Utah – Oklahoma appeals
Republican group shows support for gay marriage
Salt Lake City (AP) — A group of Republicans has come out in support of legalizing gay marriage in Utah and Oklahoma, arguing that allowing same-sex unions is consistent with the Western conservative values of freedom and liberty once championed by Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater.
In addition to the Republican group, a number of organizations also filed briefs in support of marriage equality.
The American Sociological Association told the court that the claim from state attorneys in Utah that same-sex parents can't be good parents is contradicted by "abundant social science research."
"Unsubstantiated fears regarding same-sex parents do not overcome these facts and provide no justification for upholding the marriage bans," the brief from the sociological association said.
The American Military Partner Association said the "uneven patchwork of marriage equality" is hindering efforts to recruit and retain same-sex couples who fear they'll be stationed in a state that doesn't recognize their union.
A coalition of people and groups from religions that include Episcopal, Unitarians, Methodists and a group called Mormons for Equality argued for gay marriage saying that "American religious panorama embraces a multitude of theological perspectives on lesbian and gay people and same-sex relationships."
Attorney General denies ban unconstitutional
Phoenix (AP) — Lawyers for the state of Arizona deny that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates equal-protection and due-process rights. The state Attorney General's office made the denial in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the ban. The seven same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit allege the ban violates equal-protection and due-process rights. Voters in 2008 amended the Arizona Constitution to include a ban.
Top two Democrats split over gay marriage
Louisville, Ky. (AP) — Two of Kentucky's top Democrats split sharply Tuesday over same-sex marriage, with Gov. Steve Beshear saying outside lawyers will be hired to appeal a decision granting recognition to gay couples married in other states after the attorney general announced he would not pursue the case.
Attorney General Jack Conway choked up with emotion at a news conference announcing he would not appeal the ruling. "I would be defending discrimination," he said. "That I will not do."
Minutes later, Beshear said in a written statement that the potential for "legal chaos is real" if a delay is not granted while the case is appealed. He noted that he issue ultimately should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Governor says he supports gay marriage
Denver (AP) — Gov. John Hickenlooper has come out as a supporter of gay marriage.
The Colorado Democrat has been a vocal backer of gay rights but generally stopped short of formally endorsing same-sex marriage. However, on Monday he provided a statement in support of a gay rights group that kicked off a campaign to bring gay marriage to Colorado.
"If all people are created equal," Hickenlooper said in the statement, "then by extension of law, logic and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage."
The Gayly – March 5, 2014 @ 1:20pm