Daily News – Court of Appeals Refuses To Hear Gay Marriage Appeal

Court of Appeals Refuses To Hear Gay Marriage Appeal (UPDATED3X)
BY KEN LOVETT
New York’s top court today refused to hear an appeal challenging the state’s gay marriage law.

Without explanation, the Court of Appeals denied a request to appeal by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, an evangelical group.

UPDATE: “With the Court’s decision, same-sex couples no longer have to worry that their right to marry could be legally challenged in this State,” Gov. Cuomo, who pushed for passage of the law last year, said in a statement. “The freedom to marry in this State is secure for generations to come.”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms had claimed the state Senate failed to follow proper procedure when it gave final passage last year to a bill allow same-sex couples to wed. Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law.

The group argued that the Senate Republican majority violated the state open meetings law by meeting behind closed doors, including with Mayor Bloomberg, to discuss the issue.

A state appellate court in July unanimously reversed a lower court ruling and dismissed the case. Because the decision was unanimous, New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms needed permission from the state’s top court to continue its appeal, a request that was denied today.

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the Court of Appeals decision, but I wouldn’t’ say surprised,,” said the Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms.

“It’s a pretty liberal-leaning court,” McGuire said. “Every time the people had the chance to vote on the issue of marriage, they view it one way [against gay marriage]. But when it comes before rogue legislatures or the courts, they view it differently.”

McGuire said his group will now focus on a complaint brought with the state Division of Human Rights by a lesbian couple who were told by Liberty Ridge Farm near Albany they could not get married at the site because they were lesbians.

The owners of the site, Robert and Cynthia Gifford, are said to object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

McGuire said he believes the state religious freedoms exemptions in the gay marriage law does not go far enough and could be a violation of the US and state constitutions.

UPDATE 2: Erica Pelletreau, spokeswoman for the Empire State Pride Agenda, the largest gay advocacy group in New York, ripped gay marriage foes for trying to “throw anything at this law just to see if something sticks.”

“Nothing will,” Pelletreau said. “Nothing can stop the momentum for full equality that started right here in New York State.”

She added that “while extremists dabble around in the arcana of parliamentary procedure, they forget one thing: They are targeting real people and real families. But love has already won the day. Victory is ours.”

UPDATE3: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office handled the case for the state, praised today’s court decision. Here’s his statement.
“Today another barrier has been overcome in the struggle for full equality for gay and lesbian New Yorkers. The New York State Court of Appeals sided with my office in a rejecting a challenge to the Marriage Equality Act. With this ruling by our state’s highest court, same sex couples can now have peace of mind that this legal challenge to their marriages has been laid to rest. The struggle to secure federal recognition of all New York marriages continues, but today’s decision is an important victory for equal justice. My office will keep fighting every day to defend the fundamental guarantee of equal protection of the law for all New Yorkers.”

USA Today -Target sells T-shirts to help pro-gay marriage group

Target sells T-shirts to help pro-gay marriage group
Updated 1h 27m ago
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Two years after Target Corp. angered gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office, the retailer is now upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.

Handout via AP
One of the T-shirts target is selling to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.
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Handout via AP
One of the T-shirts target is selling to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.
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The Minneapolis-based retailer is taking heat in its home state, where voters will decide this November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution. One organizer of gay marriage opponents warned that their displeasure could spread to 32 other states where voters have banned gay marriage.
“Target is attacking traditional marriage, which is an incredibly misguided thing for them to have done,” said Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group campaigning to pass the constitutional marriage amendment. “It’s an insult to the overwhelming majority of their customers.”
Target’s move comes two years after it endured a backlash from gay rights supporters for giving $150,000 to a campaign group backing the conservative Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost to Democrat Mark Dayton in a race that went to an automatic recount. The donation set off protests and calls for a boycott from a constituency that had seen Target as an ally.
Supporters of gay marriage see Minnesota as having the potential to halt their long losing streak in statewide votes.
The T-shirt promotion will raise up to $120,000 for the Family Equality Council, a Washington-based group that is part of a Minnesota coalition pushing to defeat the constitutional amendment. The $12.99 shirts will be sold on Target’s website through June, or while supplies last. They come in four designs, emblazoned with words such as “harmony” and “pride.” Singer Gwen Stefani designed one shirt featuring a rainbow and a cloud that says, “LOVE IS LOVE.”
Target hasn’t taken a position on Minnesota’s ballot question. Spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the T-shirt promotion was organized by a group of gay Target employees and their allies. She said it is Target’s second promotion to benefit a specific group. The first, during last year’s holiday season, raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the sale of limited-edition plush dogs.
“Target is pleased to be able to bring our guests products they want while, in turn, helping support the LGBT community through the donation of 100% of the purchase price to the Family Equality Council,” the company said in a statement noting its long-standing support of the gay community.
Another statement from the retailer notes “a broad range of strongly held views” on the marriage issue and urges employees to vote.
Family Equality Council director Jennifer Chrisler said the T-shirt proceeds will fund her group’s work around the country, ranging from community building to political advocacy. She added that Target, a longtime sponsor of the Twin Cities gay pride festival, is now sponsoring Family Equality Council retreats for gay families in Massachusetts and California.
“I know and understand what a big reaction that donation had two years ago, and I think they have taken steps, serious steps, to show that they understood that reaction,” Chrisler said. “But I really think this is an extension of the longtime partnership we have had and their commitment to family.”
Minnesota for Marriage doesn’t plan to organize action against Target because of its focus on the November vote, Darrell said. Instead, he is asking supporters of the constitutional amendment to counter the Target promotion by donating $12.99 on his group’s website. He said donations are up since Target started selling the T-shirts.
Darrell also urged Target to get out of the marriage issue — and stay out.
“Just get out of this debate and do what they’re good at,” Darrell said. “Get out of the business of trying to redefine marriage.”