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 17 – 23, 2014
- PENNSYLVANIA • On 3 March 2014, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,405 registered PA voters regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 57% support it, 37% oppose it, and 6% don’t know or don’t answer. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
- On 26 April 2013, U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL) introduced the Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (HR-1814), which would excuse a citizen from the federal law requiring the purchase of health insurance whenever that citizen claims a religious belief, and on 6 May 2013, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced the Senate version (S. 862). On 11 March 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives skipped Committee review, and passed HR-1814 on a voice-only vote. Lawmakers favoring it include 226 Representatives (145 Republican, 81 Democrat), and 32 Senators (16 Republican, 15 Democrat, 1 Independent). Based on history, the chance of enactment is 24%. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
PENNSYLVANIA • 18 March 2014, in Cara Palladino & Isabelle Barker v. PA Governor Corbett et al.,a federal suit about marriage recognition, the court scheduled oral arguments for 28 May 2014. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 7 March 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 preliminary injunction against the TX same-gender civil marriage bans while the district court case is proceeding was appealed by TX to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and the district court case proceedings were stayed pending the appeal ruling. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 12 March 2014, in Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., a federal class action suit seeking equal marriage rights for all TX couples, and challenging the TX statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage, TX asked the court to stay proceedings in this case pending the outcome at the 5th Circuit of Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 12 March 2014, in Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., a federal class action suit seeking equal marriage rights for all TX couples, and challenging the TX statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage, TX asked the court to stay proceedings in this case pending the outcome at the 5th Circuit of Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TEXAS • On 18 February 2014, In the Matter of the Marriage of A.L.F.L. and K.L.L., Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh filed for divorce and child custody. A hearing is scheduled for 20 March 2014. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
TENNESSEE • On 18 March 2014, in Valeria Tanco, et al. v. TN Governor William Haslam, et al., a constitutional challenge to the TN law that bans recognition of same-gender civil marriages, the TN attorney general: (1) asked for a stay of the injunction requiring TN to recognize the civil marriages of 3 same-gender couples, and (2) notified the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that TN is appealing the order requiring recognition of marriages made elsewhere. On 20 March 2014, the court denied the state’s request. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
KENTUCKY • On 20 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, the court stayed enforcement of its final order (requiring KY to recognize marriages performed elsewhere) pending the outcome from the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Briefing on the intervening couples’ claims is slated to finish by 28 May 2014. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
WISCONSIN • On 20 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, WI DoJ claimed that existing mixed-gender marriage rights don’t include same-gender marriage rights, and asked that the case be dismissed. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
ARKANSAS • The case of Kendall Wright, et al. v. AR Governor Michael Beebe, et al., in which 21 same-gender couples challenge the 2004 AR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, the state law banning same-gender civil marriage, the federal law allowing states to ignore same-gender marriages from other states, and recognition of parental rights, birth certificate names, insurance, and other benefits, is scheduled for oral argument on 17 April 2014. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
VIRGINIA • On 20 March 2014, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA 4th Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer, et al., a federal lawsuit challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage, and out-of-state marriage recognition, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals confirmed the hearing of oral arguments on 13 May 2014 from attorneys for the original plaintiffs, assisted by attorneys from Lambda Legal and ACLU (in Joanne Harris, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., a certified class action case). • MEUSA Summary • News Source
MICHIGAN • On 21 March 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al.,a challenge to the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, the court: (1) overturned the law and constitutional amendment that banned same-gender civil marriage in MI, (2) said that MI testimony calling same-gender parents inferior was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” and (3) said that no available science contradicts the consensus that same-gender and mixed-gender couples are equally good at parenting. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
MICHIGAN • On 22 March 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al.,a challenge to the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, officials in at least 5 counties married over 300 county-resident, same-gender couples until 5:00 p.m., when the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay, effective through Tuesday, 26 March 2014. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
HAWAI’I • On 19 March 2014, in Natasha Jackson, et al., v. Governor Neil Abercrombie, et al., a marriage rights case, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals requested an opening brief by 25 April 2014, an answering brief by 27 May 2014, and an optional reply brief 14 days after delivery of the answering brief. Lawamkers legalized same-gender civil marriage in 2013, but the court still wants to ensure an orderly disposition of the appeal for future reference. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
SOUTH DAKOTA • By 14 March 2014, SB-128 (which would legalize religion-based discrimination against LGBT people in 4 settings: (1) employment; (2) public accommodation; (3) commercial services; and (4) state courts) died in the 2014 SD legislature, after a 5-to-2 vote by the SD Senate Judiciary Committee defeated it. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
CALIFORNIA • On 14 March 2014, CA initiative #13-0014 (which would exempt a citizen from any law that conflicts with that citizen’s religious bible-based beliefs, and would modify the CA constitution to protect religious expression even when it violates peace and safety) failed to collect 807,615 valid signatures for the November 2014 ballot. • MEUSA Summary • News Source
Send questions and comments to: NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.