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. 

Edge On The Net – Ginsburg Predicts Gay Marriage Before High Court

Ginsburg Predicts Gay Marriage Before High Court
by Kristen Wyatt
Associated Press
Thursday Sep 20, 2012

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Source:AP Photo)
BOULDER, Colo. – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Wednesday that she believes the Defense of Marriage Act will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court within the next year.

Ginsburg spoke at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She was asked a student-submitted question about the equal-protection clause and whether the nation’s high court would consider it applying to sexual orientation.

Ginsburg said with a smile that she couldn’t answer the question. She said she could not talk about matters that would come to the court, and that the Defense of Marriage Act would probably be up soon.

“I think it’s most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term,” she said.

The 1996 law has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in New York and is awaiting arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Those oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 27.

The law was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton after the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a ruling in 1993 making it appear Hawaii might legalize gay marriage.

Since then, many states have banned gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004 and continuing with Connecticut, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland and Washington state. Maryland and Washington’s laws aren’t yet in effect and might be subject to referendums.

In February 2011, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Ginsburg’s remarks came at a conference sponsored by the University of Colorado law school. Ginsburg talked mostly about entering the legal profession when there were few female lawyers and even fewer judges.

The students roared with laughter when Ginsburg told of scrambling even to find a women’s restroom in law school at Columbia University in the 1950s.

“We never complained, that’s just the way it was,” she said to laughter from the students.

Fox -Opponents block Washington state gay marriage

Opponents block Washington state gay marriage
Published June 06, 2012
Associated Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s gay marriage law was blocked from taking effect Wednesday as opponents filed more than 200,000 signatures seeking a public vote on the issue in November.
Preserve Marriage Washington submitted the signatures just a day before the state was to begin allowing same-sex marriages. State officials will review the filings over the next week to determine whether the proposed Referendum 74 will qualify for a public vote, though the numbers suggest the measure will make the ballot easily.
“The current definition of marriage works and has worked,” said Joseph Backholm, the chair of Preserve Marriage Washington, as he stood next to stacked boxes of petitions.
The law, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year, would make Washington the seventh state to have legal same-sex marriages. National groups have already promised time and money to fight the law, including the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, which was involved in ballot measures that overturned same-sex marriage in California and Maine.
It’s an issue that has implications across the ballot. President Barack Obama recently declared his support for gay marriage, and the referendum has split the state’s two candidates for governor.
Washington state has had domestic partnership laws since 2007, and in 2009, passed an “everything but marriage” expansion of that law, which was ultimately upheld by voters after a referendum challenge. A poll by a Seattle consulting firm Strategies 360 showed that 54 percent of voters think it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, though the poll didn’t specifically ask them how they would vote on a referendum.
Perry Gordon, who lives in Roy but came to Olympia to watch the signature filing and support gay marriage, encouraged Washington voters to consider their conscience.
“Would you want somebody to tell you that the only recognized marriage should be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman? How would you feel about that?” Gordon said in an interview. Gordon is gay and said he’d like to get married at some point in the future. He considered gay marriage a matter of equality.
Backholm, meanwhile, raised the specter of polygamy and marriage within families while making his case. He said the law would redefine marriage as it’s been known for generations and suggested a possible slippery slope to other types of marriage.
“We have to think about the precedent we’re creating,” he said.
Gay marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Maryland legalized gay marriage this year as well, but that state is also poised to have a public vote this fall.
The Washington secretary of state’s office recommends that campaigns submit about 150,000 signatures in order to provide a cushion for invalid or duplicate signatures.

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