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Policy and Legal Update – February 17-23, 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 17 – 23, 2014





COLORADO  •  On 31 October 2013, in Rebecca Brinkman & Margaret Burd v. Adams County, Colorado Clerk & Recorder Karen Long, a lesbian couple filed a state lawsuit challenging CO marriage law and the 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  On 23 December 2013, the CO Attorney General was allowed to intervene as a defendant, after the Clerk decided not to defend the law or the constitution.  On 29 January 2014, the Clerk asked to be excused from participating in the case, but remain as a defendant cooperating with both sides.  •  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 “intervening complaint” for 2 gay male couples challenging the KY 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and asking to combine their complaint with Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, in which a federal judge ruled that the KY ban on recognizing same-gender couples married elsewhere is unconstitutional.  That ruling beomes final only after the judge identifies the details of its implementation.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OHIO  •  On 14 February 2014, in Jim Obergefell & John Arthur v. OH Public Health Director Theodore Wymyslo, in a case about OH recognition of marriages performed legally elsewhere, the plaintiffs asked the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to collect briefs and hear arguments as soon as possible.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

COLORADO  •  On 18 February 2014, in G. Kristian McDaniel-Miccio and Nan McDaniel-Miccio, et al., v. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, et al., Reilly Pozner filed a state lawsuit for 5 lesbian couples and 4 gay couples challenging CO Amendment 43, the 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

VIRGINIA  •  On 20 February2014, in Joanne Harris, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., a federal class action lawsuit seeking full marriage equality for all VA residents, including couples married elsewhere, the judge began considering whether to stay the case pending an Appeals Court decision in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al.,noted the plaintiffs’ request that he not issue any stay on his ruling, and said he does not need to hear oral arguments because he already has both the written briefs and the Bostic transcript.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IDAHO  •  On 18 February 2014, in Sue Latta, et al. v. ID Governor C. L. Butch Otter, a challenge to the 2006 ID constitutional amendment and ID laws banning same-gender civil marriage and civil union, the judge set 5 May 2014 for hearing the plaintiffs’ motion to skip the trial and issue a ruling.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OREGON  •  On 20 February 2014, in Deanna Geiger et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber et al., (a federal lawsuit challenging OR’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and OR’s refusal to recognize legal marriages from other jurisdictions), and Paul Rummell, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al., (challenging OR’s ban on same-gender civil marriage), the OR attorney general, joining attorneys general from CA, IL, NV, PA, and VA, confirmed she will not defend the OR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage because it violates the U.S. Constitution.  Arguments are scheduled for 23 April 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OHIO #4  •  On 18 February 2014, in Alfred Cowger & Anthony Wesley v. U.S. Government, et al., 2 men filed a federal lawsuit because the Affordable Care Act doesn’t recognize their 2012 NY marriage and enroll them in family coverage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NEVADA  •  On 12 February 2014, in Beverly Sevcik, et al., v. Governor Brian Sandoval, et al., a lawsuit seeking full marriage equality, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed to a fast-track review.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ILLINOIS  •  On 21 February 2014, in Brenda Lee, et al. v. Cook County Clerk David Orr, a federal suit seeking to marry immediately, the court ruled that banning same-gender civil marriage is unconstitutional, and ordered Cook County, IL to begin issuing licenses immediately, instead of waiting until 1 June when a new law takes effect statewide.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 18 February 2014, in Sasha Ballen, et al. v. PA Governor Tom Corbett, et al., a suit by 28 couples who claim that (1) the PA same-gender civil marriage ban violates both the PA and the U.S. constitutions, and (2) the legality of the plaintiffs’ Montgomery County, PA marriages should be affirmed, PA state asked the court to dismiss the suit.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source


COLORADO  •  On 17 February 2014, the CO state House approved a bill letting same-gender couples married elsewhere file their CO state tax returns jointly, and sent the bill to the governor for signature.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source 

KANSAS  •  On 17 February 2014, the KS Senate killed HB-2453, which would have legalized discrimination by individuals, businesses, and government against same-gender couples whenever the excuse is religious beliefs.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

SOUTH DAKOTA  •  18 February 2014, the SD Senate Judiciary Committee defeated SB-66 (which would exempt clergy, non-clergy, and organizations from performing same-gender civil marriages).  Discrimination against LGBT people by businesses in hiring and services is already legal, but SB-66 also would have banned discrimination lawsuits and banned all future federal recognition of sexual orientation as a protected class.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

KANSAS  •  On 17 February 2014, the KS Senate Judiciary Comm ittee decided not to consider HB-2453 at all, which would have legalized discrimination by individuals, businesses, and government against same-gender couples whenever the excuse is religious beliefs.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

TENNESSEE  •  On 18 February 2014, SB-2566 (which would have legalized discrimination against same-gender couples in domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriages, whenever the discrimination is excused by claims of religious belief) was withdrawn.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MAINE  •  On 18 February 2014, the ME Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized human rights discrimination whenever the claimed excuse is religious belief.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IDAHO  •  On 19 February 2014, HB-426 (which would legalize discrimination by people in 28 licensed professions who use religion as their excuse for the discrimination) was withdrawn.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IDAHO  •  On 19 February 2014, HB-427 (which would legalize discrimination by government and businesses to people who are, or are suspected to be, LGBT whenever the discriminator claims religious beliefs as an excuse, and which would ban discrimination lawsuits) was withdrawn.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ARIZONA  •  On 20 February 2014, the AZ state Senate passed SB-1062 (which would legalize discrimination by any person, agency, business, or organization against anyone else, whenever the perpetrator says the discrimination is related to religious beliefs).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NEW MEXICO  •  On 20 February 2-14, the legislative session ended, thereby killing SJR-6 (which would have banned same-gender civil marriage via the constitution if it passed a statewide voter ballot.  Similar proposals all died in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MAINE  •  On 20 February 2014, the ME Senate defeated LD-1428 (which would have legalized discrimination against any LGBT person, for any reason, whenever the discrimination is blamed on claimed religious belief), by a vote of 19 to 16, after the House defeated it 89 to 52.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

VIRGINIA  •  On 21 Febuary 2014, the Demcoratic-led VA Senate defeated HB-706 (which would let any state lawmaker defend the VA ban on same-gender civil marriage in place of the governor and attorney general), thus making it unlikely that anyone can appeal the 14 February federal ruling which found the ban unconstitutional.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


ALASKA  •  On 5 February 2014, Public Policy Polling surveyed 850 registered AK voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 47% support it, 46% do not, and 7% are unsure.  In another question asked of the same voters, 44% said same-gender civil marriage should be legal, 27% said only civil unions should be legal, 26% said no same-gender couples should get any legal recognition, and 3% were unsure.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OREGON  •  On 20 February 2014, Oregon United For Marriage said that it had over 160,000 signatures (only 116,284 are required for the November 2014 ballot), but the campaign is temporarily suspended pending the outcome of two combined lawsuits (Deanna Geiger, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al., and Paul Rummell, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al).  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OREGON POLLS  •  On 20 February 2014, Anzalone Liszt Grove surveyed 600 likely 2014 OR voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 55%favor it, 41% oppose it, with 4% unaccouted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MASSACHUSETTS POLLS  •  On 26 September 2013, Public Policy Polling surveyed 616 MA voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 60%support it.  Separately, 60% said the 2004 marriage equality law had no effect on their lives, 25% said it had a positive effect, and 15% said it had a negative effect.  •  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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