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Policy and Legal Update – February 10-16, 2014

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

February 10 – 16, 2014


NATIONAL MAP

  • On 15 February 2014, National Public Radio reported with MEUSA’s Ned Flaherty on the flood of same-gender civil marriage cases resulting in a stream of federal rulings.  •  News Source
  • Many finely sorted details about marriage equality are mapped by health researcher Jeff Jones of Lexington, KY at Middling America.

NATIONAL POLLS


NATIONAL LEGISLATION

  • State Marriage Defense Act  •  On 12 February 2014, U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R) and Mike Lee (R) introduced Senate #2024, which would ban federal recognition of any legally married couple who move to a state that does not recognize their marriage.  Lawmakers favoring it include 2 Senators (both Republicans).  Based on history, the chance of enactment is 2%.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

LAWSUITS

MICHIGAN  •  On 6 February 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a suit challenging the MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married, the plaintiffs sought to ban the testimony of sociology professor Mark Regnerus because his flawed methods, rejection by peers, lack of qualifications, unreliability, irrelevance don’t meet the minimum requirements for federal evidence.  Trial is scheduled for 25 February 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

UTAH  •  On 6 February 2014, in Jonell Evans, et al. v. State of Utah, a case seeking immediate recognition of all marriages between same-gender couples who were married from 20 December 2013 through 6 January 2014, the plaintiffs asked for an expedited hearing.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

LOUISIANA  •  On 27 January 2014, in Jonathan Robicheaux and Derek Pinton, et al. v. LA Attorney General James Caldwell, a federal case challenging the LA constitutional amendment and state law banning same-gender civil marriage, and banning LA recognition of same-gender couples married elsewhere, Judge Martin Feldman denied a request to un-consolidate this case (#2013-cv-05090) from another case (#2014-cv-00097).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ARKANSAS  •  On 31 January 2014, in Rita & Pam Jernigan et al. v. Crane et al., a federal lawsuit seeking same-gender civil marriages, AR asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit challening the 2004 AR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WISCONSIN  •  On 3 February 2014, in Virginia Wolf & Carol Schumacher, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al., ACLU filed a federal lawsuit for 4 couples challenging the 2006 WI ban on same-gender civil marriage or civil union, and WI’s unique ban on marrying elsewhere, for which each spouse faces up to $10,000 in fines and 9 months in prison as soon as they return to WI.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KENTUCKY  •  On 12 February 2014, in Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky,a federal lawsuit challenging KY’s ban on recognizing same-gender civil marriage legally performed elsewhere, the court struck down that specific ban, and rejected arguments about “responsible” procreation, tradition, and harm allegedly caused by same-gender marriages to mixed-gender marriages.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

VIRGINIA  •  On 14 February 2014, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., a federal lawsuit challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage and on recognizing legal marriages performed elsewhere, a federal judge declared the VA ban unconstitutional.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NEVADA  •  On 10 February 2014, in Beverly Sevcik, et al., v. Governor Brian Sandoval, et al., a federal lawsuit seeking full marriage equality for 8 couples, the plaintiffs asked the Appeals Court to expedite the hearing date.  On the same day, the NV attorney general and governor asked the appeals court for permission to withdraw their earlier brief defending NV’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marrriage, because the state’s arguments are no longer defensible, leaving no defendants from NV government.  The only remaining defendant is an anti-LGBT group, Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which lacks standing for any federal appeal (just as the CA Proposition 8 authors lacked standing to appeal).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OHIO  •  On 10 February 2014, in Brittani Henry, et al. v. OH Public Health Director Theodore Wymyslo, 4 same-gender couples (3 married lesbian couples who expect to give birth and a gay male couple seeking to adopt) filed a federal lawsuit to force OH to name both parents on the birth certificates.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

TEXAS  •  On 12 February 2014, in Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al., a federal class action lawsuit for all TX couples challenging the 2003 law and the 2005 TX constitutional ban on marriage inside and outside TX, the court heard oral arguments, and a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the ban during the litigation.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IDAHO  •  On 10 February 2014, In the Matter of the Adoption of John Doe and John Doe I, Jane (2013-25) Doe Petitioner-Appellant, the ID Supreme Court ruled that a spouse may adopt the children of her same-gender spouse.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MISSOURI  •  On 12 February 2014, in Janice Barrier & Sherie Schildt, et al., v. MO Health & Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling, et al., ACLU filed a MO state lawsuit for 8 couples challenging the 2004 ban on recognizing same-gender civil marriages legally performed elsewhere.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

LOUISIANA  •  On 12 February 2014, in Forum for Equality Louisiana v. Louisiana Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, et al., a federal suit was filed for 4 same-gender couples challenging the LA constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriages performed in LA or elsewhere, and challenging LA’s refusal to recognize both spouses as parents to children that are born to them or children that they adopt.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ALABAMA  •  On 16 December 2013, in Paul Hard v. AL Governor Robert Bentley, et al., SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) filed a federal lawsuit to: (1) overturn the 1998 AL law and the 2005 AL constitutional amendment which ban same-gender civil marriage; (2) issue a revised Death Certificate for Charles Fancher showing Paul Hard as the surviving spouse, based on their 2011 MA marriage; and (3) disburse the proceeds of a wrongful death suit to Paul Hard.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

TEXAS #6  •  On 13 February 2014, in Nikki Araguz v. Texas, a 3-judge TX appeals court panel overturned a lower court ruling that had denied a transgender woman $600,000 in death benefits just because she was born male, which made her TX marriage to her former (now deceased) firefighter husband invalid.  The appeals court returned the case to the district court to determine the plaintiff’s gender at the time of her husband’s death.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KENTUCKY  •  On 14 February 2014, in Timothy Love & Lawrence Ysunza, et al., v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, et al., Shannon Fauver filed a federal suit for a couple challenging the KY 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


STATE LEGISLATION & POLLS

ARIZONA  •  On 5 February 2014, the Camp Verde, AZ council voted against recognizing civil unions for same-gender couples.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

UTAH  •  On 29 January 2014, UT state Representative Merrill Nelson proposed a law so that citizens can donate funds via their UT tax return for legalizing discrimination against same-gender couples.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KANSAS  •  On 6 February 2014, HB-2453, which would legalize discrimination by individuals, businesses, and government against same-gender couples whenever the excuse is religious beliefs, passed from committee to the full House for a vote.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

INDIANA  •  IN Republicans criminalized the performance of any religious ceremony that religiously marries two people of the same gender, starting 1 July 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

UTAH  •  On 27 January 2014, state Rep. Jacob Anderegg (R) introduced 2 bills (HB-231, HJR-1) that would prevent clergy from being forced to solemnize marriages against their beliefs.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

VIRGINIA  •  On 3 Febuary 2014, the Republican-led VA House of Representatives passed HB-706, a bill that would let any state lawmaker defend the VA ban on same-gender civil marriage in place of the governor and attorney general.  The bill also needs approval of the VA Senate, then the VA governor.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WEST VIRGINIA  •  On 4 February 2014, the Morgantown, WV City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting marriage equality in the WV legislature.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ARIZONA  •  On 4 February 2014, an AZ House Government Committee passed HB-2153, which legalizes discrimination against LGBT people whenever the perpetrator claims religious beliefs as the excuse for the discrimination. SB-1062 also passed its respective committee in the AZ Senate.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

TEXAS  •  On 4 February 2014, Bexar County, TX extended health benefits to county workers’ same-gender spouses.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ARIZONA  •  On 5 February 2014, an AZ House committee approved a bill to legalize discrimination against LGBT people whenever religious belief is the excuse.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

TENNESSEE  •  On 6 February 2014, TN state Senator Brian Kelsey (R) and Representative Bill Dunn (R) proposed SB-2566 and HB-2467, to legalize discrimination against same-gender couples in domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriages, whenever the discrimination is excused by claims of religious belief.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KENTUCKY POLLS  •  On WKYT-TV, WHAS-TV, and 2 newspapers surveyed 1,082 registered voters on same-gender civil marriage, and  reported that 55% oppose it, 35% support it, and 10% aren’t sure.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WISCONSIN POLLS  •  On 29 October 2013, Marquette University surveyed 800 WI registered voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 53% support it, 24% support only civil union, 19% oppose all legal recognition of same-gender couples, with 4% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WYOMING  •  On 10 February 2014, WY state Representative Cathy Connolly (D) proposed HB-87, a law to legalize same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WYOMING  •  On 13 February 2014, the WY House defeated HB-87 by a 41 to 17 vote, which would have legalized same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WYOMING  •  On 13 February 2014, the WY House defeated HB-108 by a 31 to 29 vote, introduced by state Rep. Gerald Gay (R), which would have outlawed same-gender civil marriages perfomed elsewhere.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KANSAS  •  On 12 February 2014, the Republican-controlled KS House of Representatives passed HB-2453, 72 to 49, sending it to the Senate, where Republicans outnumber Democrats, 32 to 8.  HB-2453 would legalize discrimination by individuals, businesses, and government against same-gender couples whenever the excuse is religious beliefs.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

TENNESSEE  •  On 13 February 2014, TN state Senator Brian Kelsey withdrew the Religious Liberties Act (SB-2566, which would legalize discrimination against same-gender couples in domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriages, whenever the discrimination is excused by claims of religious belief), but TN state Senator Mike Bell (R) re-sponsored it.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WISCONSIN  •  On 13 February 2014, 16 Democratic lawmakers proposed a law that would repeal the 2006 WI constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KANSAS  •  On 14 January 2014, the Republican-controlled KS House of Representatives passed HB-2453, 72 to 49 (which would legalize discrimination by individuals, businesses, and government against same-gender couples whenever the excuse is religious beliefs), sending it to the Senate, where Republicans outnumber Democrats, 32 to 8.  On 14 February 2014, KS state Senate President Susan Wagle said she, the House Speaker, and Governor Sam Brownback no longer support the bill to legalize discrimination against LGBT people for religious beliefs.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


STATE BALLOTS & POLLS

OHIO  •  On 9 February 2014, FreedomOhio announced it has gathered 650,000 petition signatures, hopes to reach 1,000,000 by summer, and will decide later whether the statewide vote occurs in 2014 or 2016.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

INDIANA  •  On 13 February 2014, the legislature finished passing a modified HJR-3, which would let voters decide whether the IN constitution should ban same-gender civil marriage in 2016, but only if it is re-passed in 2015, and again in 2016.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

NEVADA  •  On 13 February 2014, Freedom Nevada began a ballot campaign to repeal NV’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage in 2016, sponsored by ACLU, ACLU of Nevada, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


Send questions and comments to:  NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.

About Marriage Equality USA

Marriage Equality USA is a volunteer-driven national grassroots organization whose mission is: "To secure legally recognized civil marriage equality for all, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, at the state and federal level through grassroots organizing, education, action and partnerships". We are a registered 501(c)3.

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