Posts Tagged ‘freedom to marry’

STAY DENIED! MARRIAGE COMING MONDAY TO GARDEN STATE

October 18, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

Freedom to marry garden stateCongratulations to loving same-sex New Jersey couples — the New Jersey Supreme Court today held that same-sex couples can marry starting Monday at 12:01 a.m., denying a stay while the court case winds its way through the appeals process.

In their decision, the Court wrote: “What is the public’s interest in a case like this? Like Judge Jacobson, we can find no public interest in depriving a group of New Jersey residents of their constitutional right to equal protection while the appeals process unfolds.”

The long, winding road to the freedom to marry in New Jersey began in earnest in 2002, when Lambda Legal filed Lewis v. Harris, which ended in 2006, with the NJ Supremes ruling that loving same-sex couples couldn’t be denied the rights and privileges of marriage without explicitly mandating the freedom to marry. The New Jersey legislature enacted civil unions, but Garden State Equality, New Jersey United for Marriage and Lambda Legal have been working since then to get full marriage.

The current case, Garden State Equality v. Dow, was filed in 2011, and on September 27, the New Jersey Superior Court found that in the wake of the Defense of Marriage Act case, civil unions no longer provided the same protections and benefits that marriage did, ruling that all loving couples in New Jersey must be allowed to marry, setting the effective date as October 21.

100 Days Later

October 4, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

100 days from SCOTUS marriage100 days ago, the Supreme Court struck down the central portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, and dismissed the last gasp appeal of the Prop. 8 supporters, returning the freedom to marry to California. Across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people cheered along with allies who supported the vision of an America where everyone could marry the person that they love.

Since then, we’ve seen a parade of victories at the federal level, from the Department of Homeland Security allowing same-sex spouses full immigration privileges to the IRS issuing new rules to make sure loving same-sex couples are recognized, to the first same-sex weddings on U.S. military bases. We’ve seen big marriage victories in New Mexico and New Jersey, and we’ve seen the roll-out of the biggest advance in LGBT healthcare in our lifetimes with the Affordable Care Act.

Here in California, we’ve seen the federal courts uphold SB 1172, which ended the psychological abuse of LGBT youth by licensed therapists, we’ve seen transgender students win both with the passage and signing of the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), which ensures that transgender students can participate as their authentic selves in school, and at the Arcadia Unified School District, which settled a lawsuit and implemented policies to ensure transgender equality.  Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom to Marry Affirmed in NJ Court Decision

September 27, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

new jersey freedom to marryNew Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted a summary decision today in favor of plaintiffs, represented by Lambda Legal, seeking the freedom to marry in New Jersey.

The decision rests on two points: First, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided in the 2006 Lewis v. Harris case that New Jersey’s constitution requires same-sex couples be granted the same rights as opposite-sex couples, something that had until now been resolved with civil unions.

But given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which overturned the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples who are married are now entitled to the same federal rights and benefits as any other married couple, which does not apply to civil unions.

Given that, Jacobson held that in order for same-sex couples to have the same protections and rights, the current ban on same-sex marriage could not be constitutional. She ordered that marriage licenses for same-sex couples are to be granted starting Oct. 21.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who will likely seek the Presidential nomination in 2016, had held that it was constitutional to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, and will likely appeal.

County by County: New Mexico Embraces Freedom to Marry

August 27, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

In terms of marriage, New Mexico was an anomaly: the only state to have no laws at all regarding marriage for same-sex couples. No laws banned it, but neither was there any explicit affirmation. The marriage statutes were gender-neutral, the result of New Mexico’s 1973 Equal Rights Amendment, which stripped gendered language from state laws on deeds and inheritances to marriages.

In 2004, Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap, a Republican, announced she’d begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples, arguing that nothing prevented it. But after 66 couples were married, then-New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid ordered the county to stop. They’ve been in legal limbo ever since — lawsuits filed regarding the validity of the marriages were dropped, and the single court case involving a same-sex married couple was an incredibly narrow technical ruling that found the marriage was valid — for the purposes of splitting property in a divorce. Clerks had refrained from issuing licenses since.

That changed when Dona Aña County Clerk Lynn Ellins again reviewed the state’s statutes and concluded that there was still nothing preventing same-sex couples from getting married — New Mexico’s constitution prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the law had always been written in gender-neutral terms. Coincidentally, New Mexico public attitudes have shifted to favor marriage for same-sex couples by three points (45 to 42 percent). Ellins started issuing marriage licenses on August 21. Much kissing ensued. Read the rest of this entry »

Equality Roundup: National Exhalation Day

November 8, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

Whew. We made it. And we won!

Slate talks about the freedom to marry strategy. The short of it? A vindication for the campaign mode of appealing to reluctant voters emotionally. Heart cooks brain, essentially, and we finally made it work for us.

Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it in a hopeful context of a more representative America.

L.A. Times on Maryland and Maine, first to call freedom to marry. (We heard about Washington from a little birdie, maybe you saw it on Facebook.

Sally Ride was the first LGBT woman in space (that we know about); hopefully her successors kept that in mind when they voted.

A handy primer for those still muddled by federal versus state issues in the freedom to marry.

Check out all those LGBT freshmen (and women — freshmembers?) heading to Washington, DC.

The NY Times reminds us that sometimes equality happens by leaps.

Ohio could be up for overturning their odious law banning the freedom to marry.

Of course, Maggie and Brian say that just because they’ve lost, doesn’t mean they’ve lost.

With the defeat of Prop. 32, California rejected an elaborate money-laundering scheme from the Koch Bros. and other opponents of equality.