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Policy and Legal Update – March 3-9, 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

March 3 – 9, 2014


NATIONAL MAP


NATIONAL POLLS

  • On 5 March 2014, Washington Post and ABC News surveyed 1,002 American adults on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 59% support it, 34% oppose it, and 7% have no opinion.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

STATE POLLS

OREGON  •  On 20 February 2014, Oregon United for Marriage surveyed OR residents on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 55% support it, 41% do not, with 4% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

CALIFORNIA  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 408 CA residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 59% support it, 37% do not, and 5% don’t know or refused to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

FLORIDA  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 261 FL residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 57% support it, 37% do not, and 6% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ILLINOIS  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 157 IL residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 52% support it, 39% do not, and 9% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NORTH CAROLINA  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 165 NC residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 47% support it, 48% do not, and 5% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NEW YORK  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 277 NY residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 60% support it, 32% do not, and 9% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

OHIO  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 163 OH residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 53% support it, 38% do not, and 9% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

PENNSYLVANIA  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 227 PA residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 61% support it, 35% do not, and 3% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

TEXAS  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 297 TX residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 48% support it, 49% do not, and 4% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

VIRGINIA  •  On 26 February 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 297 VA residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 52% support it, 42% do not, and 6% do not know or refuse to answer.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

ARIZONA  •  On 4 March 2014, Public Policy Polling surveyed 870 AZ voters on same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 49% support it, 41% oppose it, with 10% unsure.  Among the 41% who oppose full marriage rights, 19% oppose any legal recognition for any same-gender couples.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

VIRGINIA  •  On 28 February 2014, Roanoke College surveyed 821 Virginians about marriage equality, and reported that 54% support it, and 40% do not, with 6% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  • News Source

NEW JERSEY  •  On 28 February 2014, Roanoke College surveyed 842 New Jersey residents about marriage equality, and reported that 64% support it, 28% do not, with 8% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NEW YORK  •  On 28 February 2014, Roanoke College surveyed 814 New York residents about marriage equality, and reported that 65% support it, 32% do not, with 3% unaccounted for.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IOWA  •  On 4 March 2014, Public Policy Polling surveyed voters regarding the 2009 legalization of same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 78% say it had no impact or a positive impact on their lives, and 22% claim a negative impact.  Separately, 46% say it should be legal, 45% say it should not, with 9% unsure.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IOWA  •  On 6 March 2014, Des Moines Register newspaper surveyed 703 Iowa adults about same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 36% don’t care, 34% are disappointed, and 28% are proud.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


NATIONAL LEGISLATION PENDING


NATIONAL LEGISLATION ENACTED

ILLINOIS  •  On 5 March 2014, IL attorney general Lisa Madigan told county clerks to begin issuing same-gender civil marriage licenses immediately (instead of waiting until 1 June 2014 when the law passed in 2013 would have taken effect), and IL Governor Pat Quinn said the IL Department of Public Health is accepting all marriage licenses issued by any IL county clerk.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


LAWSUITS PENDING

WYOMING  •  On 5 March 2014, in Cora Courage, et al. v. Wyoming, et al., the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Wyoming Equality filed a state lawsuit seeking marriage equality for 4 couples.  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

WISCONSIN  •  On 4 March 2014, in Virginia Wolf & Carol Schumacher, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al., 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, the judge refused to block the state ban during the lawsuit, but agreed that the case will proceed to summary judgment on an expedited schedule.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KENTUCKY  •  On 4 March 2014, in Timothy Love, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (formerly Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear), a federal lawsuit challenging KY’s ban on recognizing same-gender couples married elsewhere and in KY, KY Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to appeal the federal court order that KY must recognize out-of-state same-gender marriages, thereby leaving as the only remaining issue the question of whether KY must issue marriage licenses to its own residents.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

FLORIDA • On 28 February 2014, in James Domer Brenner & Charles Dean Jones vs. FL Governor Rick Scott, attorneys Bill Shepard and Samuel Jacobson filed a federal suit seeking FL recognition of the couple’s same-gender civil marriage in Canada in 2009.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

KENTUCKY #1 • On 4 March 2014, in Timothy Love, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (formerly Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear), a federal lawsuit challenging KY’s ban on recognizing same-gender couples married elsewhere and in KY, Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to appeal the federal court order that KY must recognize out-of-state same-gender marriages, which would have left as the only remaining issue the question of whether KY must issue marriage licenses to its own residents, but KY Governor Steve Beshear said he will hire outside lawyers to appeal that ruling.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

INDIANA • On 7 March 2014, in Melissa Love, et al., v. IN Governor Michael Pence, Clay Daniel Walton & Adams filed a federal lawsuit for 4 IN couples seeking marriage rights and an overturning of the state ban on same-gender civil marriage.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MICHIGAN • In April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a federal case challenging MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married, trial was held from 25 February through 7 March 2014, with the potential landmark decision slated for 17 March or later.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

CALIFORNIA • On 7 March 2014, in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbot Laboratories, Abbott decided not to seek a rehearing at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and not to seek an appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Abbott’s decision left intact throughout the 11 states in the 9th Circuit (AK, AZ, CA, Guam, HI, ID, Northern Mariana Islands, MT, NV, OR, WA) the precedent that sexual orientation discrimination cases are decided under the principles of heightened scrutiny, which:  (1) require the government to prove that laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, (2) require the government to prove that laws are necessary, and (3) shift the burden of proof from the plaintiff (victim) to the defendant (government).  • MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


LAWSUITS RESOLVED


STATE LEGISLATION PENDING

HAWAII  •  On 13 February 2014, HI state representatives killed HB-1624 (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2014), which would have placed some government interests subordinate to some religious beliefs, allowed religious belief to excuse compliance with state and local laws, and let citizens sue government agencies whenever religious belief is “burdened” by civil law.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IDAHO  •  On 19 February, HB-427 (which would have legalized using religious belief to refuse government or commercial services to people who are or are suspected to be LGBT, and would have banned lawsuits by victims) was withdrawn.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

IDAHO  •  On 19 February, HB-426 (which would have legalized discrimination by licensed professionals in medicine, education, finance, etc. against LGBT people) was withdrawn.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MAINE  •  On 20 February 2014, the ME House killed LD-1428, which would have legalized discrimination against anyone for any reason, whenever religious belief is the excuse.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

NORTH CAROLINA  •  On 10 April 2013, HB-751 (which would legalize discrimination whenever the excuse is religious belief) was introduced.  It failed to advance as a separate bill for 2014, but could advance as an amendment for 2014.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

MISSISSIPPI  •  On 4 March 2014, the MS House Judiciary Committee advanced SB-2681, MS Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which would legalize discrimination by any person, government, or corporation whenever personal religious belief is the excuse, except when the discrimination is outlawed by a government interest “of the highest magnitude.”  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source

CALIFORNIA  •  On 21 February 2014, CA Assemblywoman Shannon Grove introduced AB-2237, which would legalize discrimination whenever the discriminator uses religious belief as the excuse.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


STATE LEGISLATION ENACTED


STATE BALLOT MEASURES

COLORADO  •  On 5 March 2014, CO Governor John Hickenlooper said he supports upgrading CO from civil union to full marriage equality.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source


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

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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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