Tag Archives: Marriage Equality

Two Japanese Actresses Announce Engagement and Arrangements for the Country’s First Celebrity Same-Sex Marriage

Former Gravure model and television personality Ayaka Ichinose (34) and actress Akane Sugimori (28) plan to tie the knot next year in the conservative country’s first celebrity gay marriage. The pair announced that they will hold their wedding ceremony and banquet in April next year.


While there are some famous openly gay celebrities in Japan — perhaps most notably Akihiro Miwa — Ichinose and Sugimori might be the only open LGBT couple in the entertainment industry.

Ichinose came out as a lesbian in 2009, and met Sugimori at a gay bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo in October 2012.

‘We hope gay people will also be able to marry in Japan, and hope our wedding can help promote this goal.’

Ayaka Ichinose

This news follows the announcement that Hotel Granvia in Kyoto is offering a same-sex weddings service, in cooperation with a local Buddhist temple, joining Tokyo Disneyland in accommodating gay couples who want to marry in Japan.

Japan has a rich gay history, but LGBT rights get short shrift in the mainstream media. Japan’s views on homosexuality are a complex one. Despite artistic cultural exports that shows Japan as being a socially progressive society in regards to gender and sexual expression, the country still struggles with broad legislation that would ensure LGBT equality.

Taiwanese Queen of Pop, Jolin Tsai Tells Touching Lesbian Love Story in New Music Video

Taiwanese queen of pop, Jolin Tsai, showcases a beautiful lesbian love story in her new video about same-sex marriage.

The video is for her new song ‘We’re All Different, Yet the Same’, which is based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years. When of the women are hospitalized due to old age and required emergency surgery, her partner not able to sign the consent form, because she was not a legal spouse or family member. She then has to call around to try and find her partner’s estranged family members to the sign the form.

The music video has already received a lot of attention in Taiwan, where same-sex marriage is a hot topic.

The video focuses on a lesbian marriage where Jolin Tsai kisses Ruby Lin. The kiss was an impromptu suggestion from the director and took an hour to film – WOW!

‘People used to tell me that I look like Ruby Lin. I finally met her today, and we kissed on our first meeting’

Jolin Tsai



Japanese Zen Temple Begins to Offer Symbolic Same-Sex Marriages to LGBT Community

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for LGBT couples looking to marry.

The Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, Japan, has become the first zen Buddhist temple to offer a symbolic same-sex wedding.


Established in 1590, Shunkoin Temple follows Zen Buddhism and is an important site for a 20th-century school of thought that blends Zen and Western philosophy.

They also take a strong stand on human rights, with their website proudly declaring,

“Shunkoin Temple is against any forms of ‘Human Rights Violations’ in the world. No religion teaches how to hate others. Religion teaches how to love and respect others.”

With the temple’s priest, Takafumi Kawakami adding…

“It’s not like we have to keep tradition the way it is. We welcome every couple regardless of their faith or sexual orientation.”

Takafumi Kawakami

The temple officially began providing same-sex marriages in 2011, but given the conservative nature of Japan, the service hasn’t been widely publicised or recognised here.

Japan’s views on homosexuality are a complex one. Despite artistic cultural exports that shows Japan as being a socially progressive society in regards to gender and sexual expression, the country still struggles with broad legislation that would ensure LGBT equality.

Though there are a number of openly queer politicians in Japan, openly gay people run the risk of being evicted, fired, or denied access to Japan’s health care

Finally, Couples in Civil Partnerships Can Now Marry

As of today, same-sex couples already in a civil partnership can decide if they to convert to a marriage, or remain in this legal status.

Couples already in civil partnerships may opt for a simple conversion at a register office, or a two-stage process, which includes a ceremony at a venue of their choice, which allows them to choose a religious venue, hotel or other venue to host their conversion ceremony. A superintendent registrar must be present for the first part of the conversion, and a religious figure may take over to conduct the rest of the ceremony.

However, the legal formation of the marriage is conducted by the registrar, not the religious minister, unlike in a same-sex marriage for a couple not in a partnership.

Talking to PinkNews, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan and Skills and Equalities Minister Nick Boles Marriage said:

“Marriage is a universal institution which should be available to all. It is the bedrock of our society and the most powerful expression of commitment that two people can make. While civil partnerships remain an important part of the journey towards legal equality, it is entirely understandable why so many same-sex couples want to be able to enter into the institution of marriage and express their love in the same way as their peers.”

The first same-sex marriages in Scotland take place on New Year’s Eve, but same-sex marriage will remain illegal in Northern Ireland.

A Federal Judge In Montana Has Struck Down State’s Same-sex Marriage Ban.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris has struck down that Montana’s same-sex marriage ban.

The ruling by the federal judge comes in a challenge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana on behalf of four same-sex couples who sued to overturn the ban.

“This Court recognizes that not everyone will celebrate this outcome. This decision overturns a Montana Constitutional amendment approved by the voters of Montana. Yet the United States Constitution exists to protect disfavored minorities from the will of the majority. Equal protection of the laws will not be achieved through ‘indiscriminate imposition of inequalities.’ Our constitutional tradition does not permit laws to single out a certain class of citizens for ‘disfavored legal status.’”

Judge Brian Morris

ACLU officials argued that Montana was bound by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision to strike down similar gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

Montana is the only state under the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction that had still been enforcing its same-sex marriage ban.

The ruling takes effect immediately.

Judge Overturns Missouri’s Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

A state judge overturned Missouri’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately set off a rush among some same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in a written ruling that Missouri’s measure recognizing marriage only between a man and woman violates the due process and equal protection rights of the U.S. Constitution. The decision mirrored ones handed down recently in several other states.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster immediately appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, saying the constitutional challenge “must be presented to and resolved” at that level. But he said that his office wouldn’t seek a stay of the order, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant stays after same-sex marriage decisions in Idaho and Alaska.

Koster previously chose not to appeal a ruling requiring Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

After hearing about Wednesday’s ruling, Kelley Harris, 35, and Kelly Barnard, 36, drove to St. Louis City Hall to apply for a marriage license. They called a photographer to record the event and planned to invite friends to attend an impromptu ceremony at a local park. The couple had held an unofficial wedding ceremony in 2003.

“We’ve already been living as a married couple – we have children, we have family – so it would be nice to have the legal backing,”

Kelley Harris

By 5 p.m., the city had issued marriage licenses to four lesbian couples, including Harris and Barnard. April Breeden and Crystal Peairs, both 38, held a brief ceremony on the marble steps of the City Hall rotunda after obtaining their license.

“Time is of the essence,” Peairs said. “We wanted to make sure we got it taken care of today.”

The city issued four marriage licenses to same-sex couples in June and then quit doing so, intentionally setting up a legal challenge to the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan argued during a September court hearing that 71 percent of Missourians had voted for the referendum and said that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly allowed states to define marriage.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert countered in court that the existing law treats same-sex couples as “second-class citizens.” He said an increasing number of states are allowing gay couples to wed, including most of the states surrounding Missouri.

“Obviously this is a long time coming for so many gay and lesbian couples in the state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis in particular.”

Winston Calvert

Terry Garrett-Yampolsky, an archivist in the St. Louis recorder of deeds office, was part of the initial group of same-sex couples to receive licenses a little more than three months ago. He watched the couples enter the city office Wednesday with a mixture of pride and exhilaration.

The decision may lead to same-sex marriage licenses being issued in other Missouri communities. Cheryl Dawson, the recorder of deeds for Greene County in southwest Missouri, said she received one phone inquiry about same-sex marriage licenses after the ruling. She said she told the caller that a state association hadn’t yet told her how to handle such requests.

An official with the Recorders’ Association of Missouri didn’t immediately return a phone call late Wednesday afternoon.

A federal court case in Kansas City also challenges Missouri’s gay marriage ban. Jackson County officials cited that case in a written statement late Wednesday noting that Burlison’s ruling “is limited to St. Louis city.”

The Missouri lawsuits mirror dozens of others across the country. The suits are based on the same arguments that led the U.S. Supreme Court last year to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied a range of tax, health and veterans benefits to legally married gay couples.

Gay marriage is legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

A federal Judge Orders Kansas to Allow Same-Sex Couples to Marry

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Kansas to allow same-sex couples to marry pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban, but he delayed enforcement of his order until next week to give the state time to appeal.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing its same-sex marriage ban as of 5 p.m. next Tuesday, pending the outcome of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging it.

“This is a great day for marriage equality in Kansas and for gay and lesbian couples, because now they can do what straight people have been able to do forever: They can get married.”

Doug Bonney, ACLU

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose office has been defending the state’s constitutional ban, said he would quickly appeal. Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, said the governor took an oath to defend the Kansas Constitution and would work with Schmidt “to ensure an orderly judicial process in determining this issue and to avoid the confusion created by inconsistent judicial rulings.”

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses after an unexpected decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last month.

The high court refused to hear appeals from five states seeking to preserve similar gay-marriage bans that were struck down by federal appeals courts – but that decision extended to other states within the jurisdiction of those appellate courts. Among the original five states were Oklahoma and Utah, which like Kansas fall under the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gay marriage is now legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

“The handwriting is on the wall. Marriage equality is here. It is time to quit fighting about this and allow people to exercise their fundamental right to marriage and to do otherwise wastes the public’s money.”

Doug Bonney, ACLU

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the chief district judge in Johnson County – Kansas’ most populous county – ordered licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. Two women obtained one and quickly wed.

Schmidt then filed a petition with the Kansas Supreme Court, which temporarily blocked new licenses to gay couples and scheduled a Nov. 6 hearing. Schmidt had said his goal was to “freeze the status quo in place until the legal dispute can be properly resolved.”

The ACLU filed its separate federal lawsuit only hours later on behalf of the two lesbian couples, one in Douglas County and one in Sedgwick County, who had been denied marriage licenses. ACLU lawyers contend that the group’s lawsuit is likely to prevail and that denying the couples the right to marry, even for a short time, would do them irreparable harm.

Crabtree wrote that Kansas’ ban is infringing on the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and he seemed reluctant to delay their right to marry, even by a week. He said the 10th Circuit had already settled the substance of the constitutional challenge, but conceded that the appeals court may view the case differently than he views it. “On balance, the court concludes that a short-term stay is the safer and wiser course,” he wrote.

Tom Witt, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas, called on the governor to stop fighting.

“This already has already been a waste of time and money. This has only one outcome. He is playing games with people’s lives, and we’ve waited long enough.”

Tom Witt, Equality Kansas

Kansas law has never recognized same-sex marriages, and voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2005 to add a gay-marriage ban.

Awww, DC Comics’ Batwoman Proposes to Her Girlfriend

Kate Kane, also known as Batwoman, proposed to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer, in the latest instalment of the comic strip, amidst controversy surrounding the publisher’s decision to hire a writer with anti-gay views to write for another title.

Batwoman was reintroduced as a lesbian by DC Comics in 2006, which was a move to try to reflect modern society more accurate than previous comics.

After emerging victorious from a recent crusade, Kane reveals her identity to Sawyer. “Marry me, Mags,” she says, planting a kiss on Sawyer before the police captain can react.


Recently, the comics artist, J. H. Williams expressed just why this character’s story means so much to him and comic book readers alike.

“Batwoman is an important character, and a socially important one that has meaning that extends well beyond the printed pages of the world she lives in, reaching out into ours possibly affecting those who encounter her story”

J. H. Williams

Batwoman’s proposal, the first lesbian engagement to be included in a mainstream comic, comes on the heels of DC Comics being heavily criticised (with some fans calling for a boycott of the company, and of the comic), due to their decision to hire anti-gay writer, Orson Scott Card (author of Enders Game). Card is scheduled to write the first two instalments of its new digital-first comic, Adventures of Superman.

DC Comics had responded to the criticism, defending “freedom of expression”, stating that Mr Card would not be a regular writer for the comic, just two episodes. An AllOut petition calling for DC to dump Scott Card had received almost 16,000 signatures.

This latest development with Batwoman’s character has seen some critics accuse DC of not making a bigger deal of the proposal, because of the controversy surrounding Card, others commended the publisher, praising it for what was seen as an attempt to normalise the same-sex proposal. Others have questioned whether Orson Scott Card will complete the work for DC, given his opposition to equal marriage.

Last year, after it was revealed that a major character of DC Comics would come out as gay, lesbian or bisexual, one of the company’s oldest characters, Green Lantern, was reintroduced as a gay man.

Marvel‘s Northstar, the first openly gay hero, tied the knot with his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in an issue of ‘Astonishing X-Men’, last year, and recently the creators of Judge Dredd suggested that he could be gay.



US Federal Government Recognises Same-Sex Marriage in Six More States

The US federal government has recognised gay marriage in six more states and extended federal benefits to those couples.

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Saturday.

“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving full equality for all Americans.”

Eric Holder, Attorney General

 Gay marriage recently became legal in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The government’s announcement follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month to decline to hear appeals from five states that sought to keep their marriage bans in place. It brings the total number of states with federal recognition of gay marriage to 32, plus the District of Columbia. Couples married in these states will qualify for a range of federal benefits, including Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

The attorney general also said the government is working “as quickly as possible” to make sure same-sex married couples in these states receive the “fullest array of benefits” that federal law allows.

The Justice Department also has determined that it can legally recognize gay marriages performed this summer in Indiana and Wisconsin after federal courts declared marriage bans in the states unconstitutional. Subsequent developments created confusion about the status of those unions, but Holder said the U.S. government will recognize the marriages.

Kansas, Montana and South Carolina are Refusing to Allow Same-sex Couples to Obtain Marriage Licenses

These three States are continuing their legal fight against same-sex marriage, despite rulings from the Ffederal Appeals Courts. Kansas, Montana and South Carolina are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so, even as officials in other states have abandoned defense of gay marriage bans.

In a political campaign debate, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vowed to defend his state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

There seems little doubt that U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ultimately will set aside the state’s gay marriage ban. That’s because the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, encompassing Kansas and five other states, has said a state may not deny a marriage license to two people of the same sex.

“He is absolutely bound and has to make that decision,”

Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director of the Human Rights Campaign

The same requirement holds true for federal judges who are hearing same-sex marriage lawsuits in Montana and South Carolina.

John Eastman, chairman of the anti-gay marriage National Organization for Marriage, agreed with Warbelow that federal judges almost certainly will rule to allow same-sex marriages. But Eastman urged state officials to continue to put up a legal fight until the Supreme Court decides the issue one way or the other.

State officials in Colorado, North Carolina and West Virginia chose a different path. They helped speed the process for legalizing gay marriage in their states when they announced they would no longer defend their state laws in the aftermath of the appeals court rulings.

The latest wave of court rulings that has made same-sex marriage legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia began with the unexpected decision by the Supreme Court on Oct. 6 to reject appeals by five states hoping to keep their bans in place.

The high court’s refusal to step in affected appeals courts in Chicago, Denver and Richmond, Virginia, which in turn oversee 11 states that did not previously allow same-sex couples to marry. Since the justices’ terse order, same-sex couples have been able to marry in nine of those 11 states, with Wyoming on Tuesday becoming the latest to permit it. Only Kansas and South Carolina have not followed suit.

A day after the Supreme Court action, the federal appeals court in San Francisco struck down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada in a ruling that also appeared to apply to Alaska, Arizona and Montana. Since then, federal judges in Alaska and Arizona quickly ruled on pending marriage lawsuits. But in Montana, a federal judge has set a hearing in a marriage challenge for Nov. 20.

No court date has been set for South Carolina, where Attorney General Alan Wilson has said he will continue to defend state marriage law and predicted a final ruling could be months away.

The timing of court action varies from judge to judge, depending on what other matters are before the court and how much say the judge wants each side to have, Warbelow said.

In North Carolina, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. acted on his own to strike down the state ban after the Richmond-based appeals court ruling became final.

Lena Dunham Won’t Get Married Until Her Lesbian Sister Can Do the Same

For many Americans in same-sex relationships, marriage equality is an incredibly important issue. Like so many other Americans in opposite sex relationships, they just want to get married, exchange rings and stuff themselves full of decadently layered cake to celebrate their matrimony.

Amongst the same-sex marriage supporters’ camp is Lena Dunham, who, despite having offended plenty of people on the topics of race and class, she actually has a solid viewpoint on the topic of marriage equality.

Speaking in a radio interview with Howard Stern, the creator of the TV show Girls explained that,

“We’re not against marriage, but I want to wait until it’s something — my sister’s gay and it just doesn’t feel good to me to do something she can’t do. She can do it in some places but not all places”

Dunham has been hit with several rumours that her and boyfriend Jack Antonoff (of the band fun.) are engaged after she was spotted wearing a diamond ring on her hand last year, but apparently, this is not the case. She explains that until all 50 states in the United States of America have marriage equality, it’s just not in her future.

The position is perhaps a good one – at least one that raises awareness (‘how would you feel if the law said you couldn’t get married to the person you love?’) – but many would argue that actively campaigning for marriage equality would be a more effective strategy.

Furthermore, actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt once stated that they wouldn’t get married until marriage equality was a reality everywhere either. Some years later in 2014 and the two have changed their mind, having gotten married over the summer. So whether Lena Dunham sticks to her statement or not is yet to be seen, but with the recent Supreme Court rulings 30 states in the USA now have marriage equality so she may not have to wait too long to keep her promise.

[tweet_dis]Watch Lena Dunham in Rock the Vote’s ‘Turn Out for What’ Video – its Fantastic #TURNOUTFORWHAT[/tweet_dis]

Rachel Maddow Explains the Same-Sex #MarriageMomentum State to State

In this video Rachel Maddow Explains the Same-Sex #MarriageMomentum State to State  over the 36 hours. On Monday, same-sex couples could marry in 19 states across America, and by Tuesday evening that number jumped to 35.

Voting rights taking a beating ahead of midterm elections

Maddow explains the Supreme Court announcement in which it declined to hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases presented, and the impact that had.

The MSNBC anchor goes on to talk about how America is moving forward on marriage rights, but backward on voting rights an important topic you won’t want to miss.

US Supreme Court Action Could Lead to #MarriageEquality in 11 More States

In a surprise development, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not accept for review any of the seven appeals from five states. The action means that the stays placed on lower court decisions in all five states – decisions that struck down bans on marriage for same-sex couples — are immediately lifted, making way for the lower courts to issue orders requiring the states to stop enforcing their bans.

The action also means that six other states in the same federal circuits as the five states which had appeals before the high court will have to abide by the federal appeals court rulings in those circuits. All three circuits –the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth—struck down the bans on marriage for same-sex couples.

That means that very soon, same-sex couples will be able to marry in 30 states plus the District of Columbia.

“We are thrilled the court is letting the Tenth Circuit victory stand. This is a huge step forward for Utah and the entire country. We are hopeful that the other cases pending across the country will also vindicate the freedom to marry, so that all couples, no matter where they travel or live, will be treated as equal citizens and have the same basic security and protections for their families that other Americans enjoy.”

Shannon Minter, Legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights

The announcement does not legally affect the remaining 20 states, but it could give courts in those other states and circuits some pause before upholding similar bans in those states and circuits. Some experts say they expect the Supreme Court will almost certainly take up an appeal should a federal appeals court rule such bans to be constitutional.

Prominent constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, who argued against bans on sodomy in the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick case, said he thought there was only a 50-50 chance the court would have granted one of the existing appeals.

“As soon as a solid split emerges, I fully expect the Court to grant cert. I’d watch the Sixth Circuit if I were you.”

Laurence Tribe, Harvard University

A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments August 6 in six marriage equality lawsuits from four states: Kentucky,Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The panel has yet to issue its opinion, but questions from two of the three judges during the argument gave repeated voice to various justifications for the bans.

Freedom to Marry Launches National TV Ad – #ItsTime

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide in the United States.

“We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.”

Freedom to Marry

Riding a remarkable wave of 40 rulings across the country affirming marriage for gay couples, Freedom to Marry released “It’s Time,” a national TV ad highlighting the tangible harms to same-sex couples still discriminated against in many states. The Supreme Court officially begins its new term Monday, with marriage cases from Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin under consideration.

“The ad underscores the human costs of prolonging marriage discrimination,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “Every day of denial is a day of real and needless injury, indignity, and injustice for too many families across the country — and time matters. America is ready for the freedom to marry, 40 lower court rulings have affirmed the freedom to marry, even opponents are saying it’s time to bring the country to national resolution — and it is, indeed, time.”

The thirty-second ad aired on Sunday morning’s network news shows in the Washington, D.C. market and on cable news this week.


Alaska’s Same-Sex Marriage Battle – ‘Citizens, Not The Courts Should Decide Whether Marriage Definition Includes Same-sex Couples’

Court papers filed Friday in Alaska, say Citizens, not the courts, should decide whether the definition of marriage includes same-sex couples.

The state is defending in federal court an amendment to Alaska’s constitution that bans gay marriage. In May, five same-sex couples – four married outside of Alaska and one unmarried couple – sued to overturn the ban approved by voters in 1998, saying it violates their rights to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

In a filing Friday, attorneys for the state said citizens have a fundamental right to decide whether to make changes to important institutions through the democratic process.

“The State of Alaska does not dispute that the residents of individual states have the right to change their marriage laws. … However, the State urges that residents of Alaska possess the same fundamental right to retain the traditional definition of marriage. This basic premise of democratic government should not be usurped by the judiciary absent compelling circumstances which the State respectfully urges are not present in this case.”

The attorneys said that allowing Alaska residents to decide whether to keep the traditional definition of marriage, of being between one man and one woman, “serves the important governmental interests of supporting the democratic form of government.”

The attorneys said there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage under the due-process clause of the U.S. Constitution. The state also argues that Alaska laws prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from other states or countries do not violate the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

The state said recent court decisions across the country in support of gay marriage don’t point to a foregone conclusion in this case but to intervention by some courts into a law-making process that should be reserved for the people.

Oral arguments in the case have been set for next month.

North Carolina’s Support for Same-Sex Marriage Increases, Issue Could Go to Vote

It’s been well documented on this site that support for same-sex marriage in the United States is on the up. Is it an unfortunate thing that there were people who didn’t support same-sex couples’ basic human rights in the first place? Absolutely. Is it wonderful that people have finally corrected their mistakes and done a tolerant 180?

Again, it is and it’s having a huge impact on the state of the USA. Also noted, the United States Supreme Court is preparing to hear a number of same-sex marriage lawsuits that will force the issue into legality whether voters like it or not but, according to stats out of North Carolina, the state’s residents don’t want the issue to go to court but with increased popularity for same-sex marriage they are prepared to take it to a vote.

Not that the sources are 100% reliable though. One survey institution, Elon University noted that 45% of voters are in favour of marriage equality in the state while 43% are against. However, their stats have seen significant, somewhat questionable movement as in March, 2014 they put support between 40 and 51 percent. That’s a pretty quick time during which to narrow the statistics down (they even said those for same-sex marriage were at 41-46% as recently as June of this year) leading to some questionable reliability, but at least the results are consistently above the 40% mark.

Meanwhile, research group American Insights further clued us in on North Carolina citizens’ feelings on marriage equality, stating that “North Carolina registered voters … believe that they, not courts, should decide the issue” and just 26% would like the issue pushed through to the courts. It’s important to note that AI are led by GOP (the conservative wing of US politics) and so there’s a clear anti same-sex marriage bias there – they even refer to marriage equality as “redefining marriage” and call opposite sex couples “traditional marriages” which is telling. But nonetheless, it is again clear that those in North Carolina want some sort of ruling.

This all comes after the state’s Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he wouldn’t uphold the same-sex marriage ban that was overwhelmingly voted into law (61% against same-sex marriage and 38% for) back in 2012. The American Civil Liberties Union even sued the state calling the ban ‘unconstitutional’. Big movements, big words and big decisions are all on hand here, so we’ll keep you updated on what’s going on.

U.S Census to Survey Same-Sex Marriages for the First Time

Contrary to the minority held belief, same-sex married couples do exist! Right up there with aliens, unicorns and other assorted myths, the United States government wasn’t officially allowed to acknowledge the existence of same-sex married couples. Despite the very real existence of legally married couples, DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) prohibited them from doing so on account that giving same-sex married couples the same rights and benefits as opposite sex couples would destroy the sanctity of marriage but this all change last year when the law was repealed.

The move to do this is so huge because now it finally gives us a clear, statistically supported picture on how same-sex marriage rulings are having an impact on the community and how many people are taking advantage of the legality. In a broader sense of what this means, the growing numbers of same-sex married couples could potentially alter future legislation and future marketing and monetary decisions.

For example, if lawmakers know that the laws that they make are having an effect on a large amount of plugged-in, politically conscious same-sex married couples, they will, to put it bluntly, pander to them. It’s a harsh way to put it but that is often how these things go and we are already seeing that even the most conservative, former same-sex marriage opponents are having a change of heart in an effort to appeal to more voters and new statistics to support this are only going see this type of behaviour increase.

Pew Research notes that existing data on same-sex married couples is incorrect as many opposite sex couples may have accidentally ticked the wrong box and described themselves as a same sex couple. So undoubtedly then, this will help correct the stats and we’ll be able to track them over time as more and more big same sex marriage decisions are ruled throughout the United States.


US Inaugural Poet, Richard Bianco, Writes Tribute to Same-Sex Marriage – #MarriageEquality

The US inaugural poet, Richard Bianco, has written a tribute to same-sex marriage.

Bianco became the first out inaugural poet when he read at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2012.

His new poem ‘Until We Could’has been penned for Freedom To Marry, to celebrate a decade since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Blanco said

“It seemed like the perfect fit immediately. It was a cause I believed in and wanted to be part of.

As the first openly gay inaugural poet, it felt very inspirational. Love is love, marriage is marriage. In both cases they come with the good and bad, the great and dysfunctional.

 I wanted the poem to convey that in a way that even straight couples could relate to. I took moments based on personal experience, so I’m retracing the love I have for my own partner, and my own sense of marriage.”

Richard Bianco

The poem, released today, was brought to life in a video by House of Cards star Robin Wright, and X-Men actor Ben Foster. Watch below…

Thirty Two US States Ask Supreme Court to Settle The Gay Marriage Issue Once and For All

Thirty-two states that either allow gay marriage or have banned it asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to settle the issue once and for all.

Fifteen states that allow gay marriage, led by Massachusetts, filed a brief asking the justices to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma and overturn bans. And 17 other states, led by Colorado, that have banned the practice asked the court to hear cases from Utah and Oklahoma to clear up a “morass” of lawsuits, but didn’t urge the court to rule one way or another.

The filing came as a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. The unanimous decision Thursday criticized the justifications both states gave, several times singling out the argument that marriage between a man and a woman is tradition. There are, the court noted, good and bad traditions.

The experience of Massachusetts – the first state to legalize gay marriage – shows that allowing same-sex couples to wed has only benefited families and strengthened the institution of marriage, said Attorney General Martha Coakley.

“Laws that bar same-sex couples from marrying are discriminatory and unconstitutiona. The time has come for this critical issue to be resolved.”

Martha Coakley, Attorney General

Massachusetts was joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

Colorado’s brief argued that the definition of marriage faces legal challenges only the Supreme Court can resolve, and that without a Supreme Court decision, states defending bans could be liable for huge legal bills from future lawsuits if they are overturned. It was written by Daniel D. Domenico, the state’s solicitor general, and Michael Lee Francisco, assistant solicitor general.

Colorado was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

These are the cases addressed in the briefs:

  • In Virginia, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the state’s voter-approved ban is unconstitutional. The state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn’t said whether it will accept the case. But the high court granted a request on Aug. 20 from a county clerk to delay implementation of the ruling, which would have allowed same-sex couples to marry beginning the next day.
  • In Oklahoma, an appeals court tossed the state’s ban in July but put its ruling on hold pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples can’t marry in Oklahoma for now. Attorneys representing the Tulsa County court clerk – who refused to issue a marriage license for a lesbian couple there – asked the Supreme Court this month to hear the case.
  • In Utah, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled this summer that Utah must allow gay couples to marry, though it put the ruling on hold pending an appeal. The state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s ban.

Federal Judge Declares Florida’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional – #MarriageEquality

A federal judge has declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining judges across the country who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida’s constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples. That also means gay couples legally married in other states will not immediately have their marriages recognized in Florida.

Hinkle, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, compared bans on gay marriage to the long-abandoned prohibitions on interracial marriage and predicted both would be viewed by history the same way.

“When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination. To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Judge Robert L. Hinkle

Gay rights have long been a contentious issue in Florida, a politically complex swing state where the northern counties tend to lean Republican like their Deep South neighbors and parts of South Florida are reliably Democratic. In the 1970s, singer and orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant lobbied to overturn a Dade County ordinance banning discrimination against gays, though the protections were later reinstated.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, has appealed previous rulings striking down the ban, which were issued earlier this year in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. Hinkle’s ruling allows time for appeals in the federal case. Bondi wants the Florida cases to remain on hold pending a definitive national ruling on gay marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The U.S. Supreme Court, they need to decide this case, they are going to decide this case, hopefully sooner than later so we will have finality. There are good people on both sides of this issue and we need to have finality for everyone involved.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions against state same-sex marriage restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court delayed an appeals court decision that would end Virginia’s gay marriage ban and, in January, the justices did the same thing in a same-sex marriage case in Utah. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati recently heard arguments in six same-sex marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The latest Florida ruling came in a pair of lawsuits brought by gay couples seeking to marry in Florida and others who want to force Florida to recognize gay marriages performed legally in other states. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which represented some of the gay couples, said the tide of rulings makes legal same-sex marriage in Florida appear inevitable.

“We’re very pleased to see the ban held unconstitutional in such unequivocal terms so that all Florida families will soon finally have the same protections,”

Daniel Tilley, ACLU staff attorney

Hinkle did add one wrinkle in his decision: he said the delay on marriages should have no effect on a proposed change to the death certificate of Carol Goldwasser, who was legally married in New York in 2011 to Arlene Goldberg before Goldwasser died earlier this year.

Goldberg, according to the ruling, has been unable to obtain Social Security survivor benefits because of Florida’s refusal to recognize their marriage, which could force her to sell her house. Hinkle said the amended death certificate showing the couple as spouses should be issued by Sept. 22, or 14 days after officials receive all the required information.

“There is no good reason to further deny Ms. Goldberg the simple human dignity of being listed on her spouse’s death certificate. Indeed, the state’s refusal to let that happen is a poignant illustration of the controversy that brings us here.”

Judge Robert L. Hinkle

DOMA Conqueror Edie Windsor Was an ‘Ignorant Middle Class Lady’ Before Stonewall

Flashback to June, 2013 and one of the leading fights in the path for LGBTQ right was won triumphantly by those in favour of same gender marriage. DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was a stifling piece of United States legislation that meant that marriages between those of the same gender would not be recognised by the government.

And that even if you were legally married, you wouldn’t be entitled to healthcare and social security benefits that opposite gender married couples were free to enjoy.

However, DOMA’s oppressive power was swiftly dismantled and destroyed after widow Edie Windsor sued the US government after they billed her for $363,053 in estate taxes after Windsor’s wife, Thea Spyer, passed away in 2009. But she wasn’t always such a prominent activist.

In Windsor’s own words, the 84-year old describes herself as being an “ignorant middle class lady” around the time that the famous Stonewall riots happened in 1969 as she didn’t think she “identified with those queens”.

Stonewall was a series of protests by members of the LGBTQ community after police raided the Stonewall Inn (a gay bar in New York City which was then owned by the Mafia) and although the movement spawned the pride parades that we know and enjoy today, back then the anti-gay epithet of the times saw it get a bad rep. The fact that the Stonewall Inn was frequented by some of the poorest people in the LGBTQ community is likely also a factor as to why Windsor didn’t identify with those who took part in the riots.

However, Windsor soon recognised just how big of a deal the Stonewall riots are, telling Marriage Equality USA that

“I mean those queens changed my life and I saw them and I loved what I saw. It was the beginning of my sense of community.”

Edie Windsor

As for the own landmark decision in LGBTQ rights that she herself was part of, she added,

“Suddenly the self-esteem is just flowing – I mean even these judges are saying we’re respectable. So we were coming out in droves and the more we came out, the more we saw each other and the more we loved and then more of us came out until we’re just this huge, joyous, loving community and I live in the middle of it and its great.”

Edie Windsor


A Third Florida County Rules Same-sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional | #MarriageMomentum

A 3rd Florida circuit-court has ruled that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Broward County Judge Dale Cohen issued the ruling, stating that the state laws barring same-sex marriage and the recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state violate the US Constitution.

Cohen issued an immediate stay on his ruling pending a state appeal.

“Every win in court brings us closer than we’ve ever been to the freedom to marry in Florida… We look forward to the day when all loving, committed couples and their families enjoy the same protections, opportunities and responsibilities of marriage under the law. Every passing day inflicts real hardships on families who are denied the legal protection and dignity that marriage equality provides.”

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida

A Florida Keys judge ruled in favour of same-sex marriage on 17 July, along side a Miami-Dade County judge on 26 July. In late July, the 3rd District Court of Appeals refused to allow same-sex marriage licenses to be issued while state appeals are being processed.

Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed both rulings, and is expected to appeal Broward County’s ruling.