Marriage Equality USA Projects Manager Ned Flaherty closely monitors marriage equality polls, ballots, laws, and lawsuits nationwide, and keeps the MEUSA website updated with changes in these areas on a near-daily basis. Every Monday we update you via our blog with policy and legal updates covering the preceding week.
You may always find the most up-to-date information, including changes that have taken place between these weekly posts, on the Current Policy & Legal Status page on the MEUSA website.
Policy & Legal Updates
28 October – 3 November, 2013
PENNSYLVANIA • On 25 October 2013, in Barbara Baus v. Pennsylvania, Ms. Baus objected to paying a 15% tax of about $11,000 for inheriting the estate of her wife Catherine Burgi-Rios. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
PENNSYLVANIA • On 30 October 2013, in Nancy Nixon v. PA Department of Revenue, Ms. Nixon sought to overturn a $21,000 inheritance tax bill on the estate of her partner Jeanne Schwartz. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
VIRGINIA • On 29 October 2013, in Joanne Harris, et al. v. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell et al., federal judge Michael Urbanski considered whether: (1) to certify the case of two couples as a class action representing all same-gender couples in VA; and (2) whether to dismiss the governor and a circuit court clerk as defendants, leaving only the state vital records registrar. Merits of the case are scheduled for argument on 3 January 2014. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 28 October 2013, in Marc Pharris, et al., v. Texas, two same-gender couples filed a federal class action lawsuit for all TX couples, challenging the 2005 TX constitutional ban on marriage inside and outsdie TX. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
VIRGINIA • On 29 October 2013, in Joanne Harris, et al. v. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell et al., the original date for arguing the merits of this federal class action case (3 January 2014) was canceled, and it may be re-scheduled. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
MISSOURI • On 29 October 2013, in Kelly Glossip v. MO Highway Patrol, in a 5-to-2 ruling, the MO Supreme Court decided that deceased Highway Patrolman Dennis Engelhard’s same-gender partner, Kelly Glossip, is ineligible for spouse survivor benefits because MO’s constitution and laws ban same-gender spouses. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
COLORADO • On 30 October 2013, in Rebecca Brinkman and Margaret Burd v. Colorado, a same-gender couple represented by attorney Ralph Ogden, sued in state court to challenge CO’s 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage and statutory ban offering only civil union. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 31 October 2013, in Alicia Butler & Judith Chedville vs. Texas, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed Army National Guard units nationwide to process benefit applications for all personnel with same-gender spouses, regardless of local marriage laws, especially at the 114 bases in FL, GA, IN, LA, MS, OK, SC, TX, and WV. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
HAWAII • On 31 October 2013, Republican state Representative Bob McDermott filed a lawsuit in state circuit court to get a judge to: (1) declare that a 1998 constitutional amendment restricted marriage to mixed-gender couples only, and (2) halt the special legislative session ordered by the governor for the purpose of passing a marriage equality bill. But the governor, attorney general, and most lawmakers say that the amendment gave lawmakers control over all possible decisions on both mixed-gender and same-gender civil marriage. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
PENNSYLVANIA • On 1 November 2013, in Deb & Susan Whitewood v. PA Governor Tom Corbett,Washington County, PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane, and PA Governor Tom Corbett all were dismissed as defendants, and Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser and Health Secreatary Michael Wolf were added. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
OHIO • On 1 November 2013, in Jim Obergefell & John Arthur v. Ohio, a federal judge ruled that a suit seeking to recognize same-gender marriages on OH death certificates can proceed, and that OH funeral director Robert Grunn can remain one of the plaintiffs, which will ensure that the outcome (expected in December 2013) applies to every OH same-gender couple married outside of OH. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 1 November 2013, in Alicia Butler & Judith Chedville vs. Texas, the Indiana Army National Guard confirmed that it has been processing benefits for same-gender couples since 1 October, and that even though some applications were temporarily delayed, no benefits were ever denied, and no federal law was broken. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
INDIANA • On 31 October 2013, in A.C. vs. N.J., the IN Court of Appeals classified non-biological mothers the same as former stepparents/grandparents, and repeated a 2004 recommendation that new child custody laws are needed (over 75% of IN families are non-traditional, but the law does not recognize their existence, and it bans same-gender couples). • MEUSA Summary • News Source
KENTUCKY • On 25 October 2013, in Romero v. Romero, Alysha Romero filed suit in KY Family Court to be divorced from Rebecca Sue Romero, whom she legally married in MA in 2009. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
VIRGINIA • On 28 October 2013, Richmond, VA City Council voted to extend benefits to the spouses of city employees in same-gender couples, as soon as same-gender civil marriage is legalized statewide. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
HAWAII • On 29 October 2013, the HI Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee held hearings and voted, 5-to-2, to advance the same-gender civil marriage bill to the full Senate, which passed it on a 20-to-4 vote, after which it went to the House Judicicary and Finance Committee for hearings, committee votes, and a House vote the week of 3 November. If approved, the proposed law could allow nuptials to begin by 18 November 2013. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
ARKANSAS • On 29 October 2013, the AR Attorney General rejected the fourth version of a proposed ballot measure which could repeal the 2004 ban on same-gender civil marriage and also legalize it. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
Send questions and comments to: NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.