Marriage Equality Suit Filed in Montana –

Marriage Equality Suit Filed in Montana

The suit, filed in federal court today, leaves only the Dakotas as states that ban same-sex marriage but have no pending legal challenges — and that is expected to change soon.

BY Trudy Ring

May 21 2014 10:50 PM ET

The marriage equality movement has come to Montana, as four same-sex couples filed suit there today seeking the freedom to marry and to have their out-of-state marriages recognized.

The couples are Angie and Tonya Rolando of Great Falls, Shauna and Nicole Goubeaux of Billings, Ben Milano and Chase Weinhandl of Bozeman and Sue Hawthorne and Adel Johnson of Helena. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and two private law firms, Goetz, Gallik, & Baldwin and Morrison & Foerster.

“We want Aden to grow up knowing that we are a family like any other family,” said Shauna Goubeaux of her and wife Nicole’s 1-year-old son, in an ACLU press release. “Marriage is part of being a family. By being plaintiffs in this case we are showing him his mommies will stand up for what is right and stand up for him.”

Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, released a statement supporting the couples, but Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, “said he would vigorously defend the ban” on same-sex marriage in Montana, reports the Associated Press.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, “leaves just two states — North Dakota and South Dakota — with gay marriage bans and no legal challenges aiming to overturn them,” notes the AP. Suits are expected to be filed in those states soon.

It’s been a big news week for marriage equality, with federal judges ruling for equal marriage rights in Oregon and Pennsylvania; neither of those decisions will be appealed. Same-sex couples have begun marrying in Oregon and applying for licenses in Pennsylvania; the latter state mandates a three-day waiting period between application and ceremony unless a judge grants a waiver.

Gay Judge Pens Stirring Opinion Striking Down Oregon Marriage Equality Ban – Huffington Post

Gay Judge Pens Stirring Opinion Striking Down Oregon Marriage Equality Ban

Posted: Updated: 

WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage Monday, finding that the law violated the constitutional right to equal protection. He ordered his ruling take effect immediately.

“Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” McShane wrote in his decision.

McShane’s ruling marks the 13th consecutive win for marriage equality advocates since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated part of the Defense of Marriage Act last year. That law defined marriage for federal purposes as being between one man and one woman.

McShane is one of just nine openly gay members of the federal judiciary, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

McShane’s conclusion was particularly stirring, with reflections on an anti-gay game played in his childhood and his own son’s homophobic remarks. From his opinion:

Generations of Americans, my own included, were raised in a world in which homosexuality was believed to be a moral perversion, a mental disorder, or a mortal sin. I remember that one of the more popular playground games of my childhood was called “smear the queer” and it was played with great zeal and without a moment’s thought to today’s political correctness. On darker level, that same worldview led to an environment of cruelty, violence, and self loathing. … Even today I am reminded of the legacy that we have bequeathed to today’s generation when my son looks dismissively at the sweater I bought him for Christmas and, with a roll of his eyes, says “dad…that is so gay.”


As the Oregonian reported in April, McShane and a former partner adopted a son, who had come from an abusive home. McShane is now helping raise the 13-year-old nephew of his current partner.

McShane ended his opinion on a hopeful note:

My decision will not be the final word on this subject, but on this issue of marriage I am struck more by our similarities than our differences. I believe that if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families. Families who we would expect our Constitution to protect, if not exalt, in equal measure. With discernment we see not shadows lurking in closets or the stereotypes of what was once believed; rather, we see families committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community.

Where will all this lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.

Including Oregon, same-sex couples can now marry in 18 states, plus the District of Columbia. 

US: First same-sex couple marries in Arkansas after marriage ban struck down

US: First same-sex couple marries in Arkansas after marriage ban struck down

A same-sex couple has married in Arkansas
A same-sex couple has married in Arkansas

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A same-sex couple has married in Arkansas, after the state’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down.

Yesterday, Judge Chris Piazza ruled that the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage  violated the rights of same-sex couples by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

According to Associated Press, lesbian couple Kristen Seaton and Jennifer Rambo married late this morning, at Western District Courthouse in Carroll County.

They are 27 and 26, have been together for four years.

Weddings were not expected to start until Monday morning, but couples flocked to the Eureka Springs courthouse, one of the few to open on a Saturday.

Deputy County Clerk Lana Gordon requested permission from the Attorney General to issue licenses today, but initially made the decision not to after she did not hear back.

However, the courthouse eventually re-opened, and Seaton and Rambo were first in line to marry.

Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a license Saturday morning to Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, of Fort Smith. They had slept in a Ford Focus after arriving in Eureka Springs at 2 a.m. Saturday and were the first of about 10 couples to line up outside of the courthouse before it opened.

When the license was issued, Rambo said, “Thank God.”

The couple, who were married by Minister Laura Phillips, proceeded to hold a marriage ceremony on the courthouse steps.

The couple had rushed to Eureka Springs at 2am Saturday after hearing the ban had been struck down, and slept in a Ford Focus to ensure they were first in line.

The Attorney General Dustin McDaniel yesterday filed for a stay, which would put the ban back in place and prevent recognition of same-sex marriage until the appeals process is concluded.

It could take several months for an appeal to conclude, as it would likely go all the way to the Supreme Court.


Huffington Post Gay Voices – Dolly Parton Speaks Out On Gay Marriage

Dolly Parton Speaks Out On Gay Marriage

The Huffington Post  | by  Cavan Sieczkowski

Same-sex marriage might not be recognized in Dolly Parton’s native Tennessee, but the blond bombshell supports equality for all.

“I didn’t know any gay people in my childhood. I do have a lot of gays in my family now, but some will never come out,” the singer, who was one of 12 children in a Pentecostal family living in Locust Ridge, Tenn., told Britain’s Event magazine, per an article featured on the Daily Mail’s website.

“I think everyone should be with who they love,” Parton, 68, continued. “I don’t want to be controversial or stir up a bunch of trouble but people are going to love who they are going to love. I think gay couples should be allowed to marry. They should suffer just like us heterosexuals. Ha ha ha!”

The country superstar has been married to her husband for almost 50 years, but she’s still been the subject of gay rumors involving her close friend Judy Ogle. She has compared her relationship with Ogle to that of Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.

“Like Gayle [King], her friend, Judy, my friend … they just think that you just can’t be that close to somebody,” she said in 2012. “Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade. We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved.”

Parton’s 42nd studio album, “Blue Smoke,” drops on May 13.

(h/t Gay Star News)