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“[I]nertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”
WASHINGTON — The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held Monday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional.
On a 2-1 vote, the appeals court joined the wave of court decisions declaring such bans unconstitutional. The decision, by Judge Henry Floyd acknowledged both the debate over such laws and, in the court’s view, the clear constitutional impediment to laws banning same-sex couples from marrying.
“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” he wrote. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”
In considering the matter, Floyd, joined by Judge Roger Gregory, ruled, “The Virginia Marriage Laws … impede the right to marry by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and nullifying the legal import of their out-of-state marriages. Strict scrutiny therefore applies in this case.”
Judge Paul Niemeyer dissented from the decision.
The court heard arguments in the case in May.
Read the opinion:
(Courtesy of BuzzFeed.com)
Today U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore ruled against Colorado’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. In Burns v. Hickenlooper, attorneys with Kilmer, Lane and Newman, LLP sued the state on behalf of six same-sex couples who argue that Colorado’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. Judge Moore stayed his ruling until August 25 to allow the state time to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which has already struck down bans on marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma.
“Today’s ruling from Judge Moore provides even further confirmation that Colorado’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Through civil unions, Colorado has already recognized the need for same-sex couples to have equal access to the benefits and obligations of marriage. Now it’s time for the state to stop its appeal and allow these families the dignity that comes with full marriage equality.”
Last month clerks in Boulder, Denver, and Pueblo counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after several recent court rulings deemed marriage bans unconstitutional. But last week the Colorado Supreme Court ordered Denver to stop issuing the licenses while the state ban remains in place and rulings are on appeal. On Monday the Pueblo clerk also stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, earlier today the Colorado Supreme Court declined the state’s request to force the Boulder clerk to stop issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
There are over 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 30 of the 31 states where such a ban exists, plus Puerto Rico. Cases from eleven states are currently pending before five federal appeals courts. The Sixth Circuit holds the distinction of being the only federal appeals court to date that will consider marriage cases from all states within its jurisdiction. In total, 33 states either have marriage equality or have seen state marriage bans struck down as unconstitutional in court. Since the Supreme Court’s historic marriage rulings last year, there have been 18 consecutive federal court decisions that bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional. These rulings have come from judges appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents.
Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 points increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins. And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group. According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality. 40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent, according to the New York Times. These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.
Same-sex couples can legally marry in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, while 31 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. Learn more about this and other marriage equality cases at www.
(Courtesy of HRC.org)
HRC released a video ad featuring legendary actress Susan Sarandon for HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign. In the video, the Oscar winner states, “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.”
“Like most Americans, Susan Sarandon knows that all families deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and equality under the law,” said HRC’s Charles Joughin. “We are incredibly grateful to Susan for speaking out in favor of marriage equality, and for lending her powerful voice to HRC’s fight for fairness nationwide.”
Susan Sarandon’s celebrated acting career has spanned more than four decades, earning her dozens of award nominations and wins, including the 1995 Best Actress Academy Award for Dead Man Walking. Sarandon has used her fame and success for good, supporting numerous charities and goodwill efforts around the globe. She has been honored for her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, as an advocate for victims of HIV/AIDS and hunger, and in 2006, she received the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award.
This is the second video released for the re-launch of HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality video campaign. Last week, platinum-selling recording artist and actress Demi Lovato lent her voice to the cause with a web video and an email to HRC’s more than 1.5 million members and supporters, calling on all Americans to support marriage equality.
Same-sex couples can legally marry in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, while 31 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. However, polling continues to show Americans moving inexorably in the direction of supporting equality for same-sex couples, and there are over 70 court cases across the country challenging bans on marriage equality.
Nationally, Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 points increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins. And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group. According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality. 40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent, according to the New York Times. These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.
HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign seeks to advance marriage equality nationwide and provide up-to-the-minute information for lawmakers, legal experts, media, and grassroots supporters. Following the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 last year, new marriage equality battles are underway in the courts, at the ballot and in public education campaigns. The campaign’s video series will draw from a cadre of supportive professional athletes, film and music celebrities, and political and civic leaders speaking out in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples nationwide. For more information visit http://americansformarriageequality.org.
(Courtesy of HRC.org)
Today, July 17, a judge in state court struck down Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, marking the 25th consecutive ruling in favor of the freedom to marry (with no rulings against) since June 2013.
Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ordered the Monroe County Clerk to stop enforcing Florida’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment, saying that marriage licenses should begin being issued in Monroe County on July 22. For now, the ruling only applies to Monroe County. The ruling does not require the state of Florida to respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states.
The ruling is in Huntsman v. Heavilin, a case brought in Monroe County court in April 2014 by private counsel from Restivo, Reilly & Vigil-Fariñas LLC on behalf of Aaron Huntsman and Lee Jones, a same-sex couple together for more than a decade in Key West, FL. The couple spoke with Freedom to Marry and Equality Florida earlier this month. Read their story HERE.
Judge Garcia writes in his ruling:
It is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority. … The Constitution guarantees and protects all of its citizens from government interference with those rights. All laws passed by the legislature or by popular support must pass the scrutiny of the United States Constitution, to do otherwise diminishes the Constitution to just a historical piece of paper.
Notably, Judge Garcia was appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican. Judge Garcia was then reelected in 2002 and 2008.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson applauded the ruling today. He said:
Like an unprecedented wave of state and federal courts across the country this past year, Judge Garcia did the right thing in affirming that committed same-sex couples share in the precious constitutional freedom to marry the person we love. Florida’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect – just what the freedom to marry is all about. We can now add Florida’s voice to the urgent need for the Supreme Court to take a freedom to marry case and bring the entire country to national resolution, ending marriage discrimination across America.
(Courtesy of Freedom To Marry)
Several major gay rights groups withdrew support Tuesday for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would bolster gay and transgender rights in the workplace, saying they fear that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill might compel private companies to begin citing objections similar to those that prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court case last week.
The gay community is a key constituency and source of campaign donations for Democrats, and calls to rewrite the most significant gay rights legislation considered in recent years is a major setback for the White House, which had used passage of the legislation last fall as a way to draw a contrast with House Republicans, who have refused to vote on the measure.
But the groups said they can no longer back ENDA as currently written in light of the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down a key part of President Obama’s health-care law. The court ruled that family-owned businesses do not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the owners’ religious beliefs.
The “Hobby Lobby case,” was led by Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain that co-founder David Green has said is run on biblical principles, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania cabinetmaking company owned by a Mennonite family.
Signs of crumbling support for ENDA came first Tuesday from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, one of several gay rights group that has aggressively pushed Obama to expand gay rights through executive action since the start of his presidency.
Rea Carey, the group’s executive director, said in an interview that “If a private company can take its own religious beliefs and say you can’t have access to certain health care, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to an interpretation that a private company could have religious beliefs that LGBT people are not equal or somehow go against their beliefs and therefore fire them. We disagree with that trend. The implications of Hobby Lobby are becoming clear.”
“We do not take this move lightly,” she added. “We’ve been pushing for this bill for 20 years.”
Separately, a coalition led by the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights said in a joint statement that they also would be withdrawing support. The bill’s religious exemptions clause is written so broadly that “ENDA’s discriminatory provision, unprecedented in federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, could provide religiously affiliated organizations – including hospitals, nursing homes and universities – a blank check to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBT people,” the group said, adding later that if ENDA were to pass Congress, “the most important federal law for the [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community in American history would leave too many jobs, and too many LGBT workers, without protection.”
The Senate approved ENDA with bipartisan support last November, marking the first time federal lawmakers had approved legislation to advance gay rights since repealing the military’s ban on gay men and lesbians in uniform in late 2010. The legislation passed with the support of several Republicans, some of whom had opposed previous attempts to pass the legislation but had decided that the time had come to expand protections to gay, lesbian and transgender workers. But House Republicans have said they will not take up the bill, in part because they believe the bill’s current religious exemptions aren’t clear or broad enough.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, while 17 states and the District also bar discrimination based on gender identity. Hundreds of the nation’s largest companies also have similar bans.
Since the court’s ruling, the White House and congressional Democrats have said that they will seek ways to address the Hobby Lobby decision through legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday called the decision “outrageous” and said “we’re going to do something about it” without providing specific details. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), among others, are working on proposals that are expected to be merged and unveiled in time for a vote as early as next week, senior Senate Democratic aides said Tuesday.
A new, separate push to rewrite ENDA may serve as a useful political tool for gay rights organizations that have used previous election cycles to pressure Democrats to take up legislation important to their concerns. The threat of withholding campaign donations during the 2010 campaign cycle helped push Obama and congressional Democrats to push for repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And Obama’s decision to announce his support for same-sex marriage before his reelection in 2012 also was seen as a nod to the gay community, a reliable and leading source of campaign donations to Democratic candidates.
Carey said her group is also pushing to ensure that Obama does not include a broad religious exemption in an executive order that he is expected to sign soon that will ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender employees of federal contractors. The order is considered the last significant action he is likely to be able to make to advance gay rights without the cooperation of Congress, according to gay rights groups.
But after the Supreme Court’s decision last week, religious leaders redoubled efforts to ensure that Obama includes a religious exemption in his executive order.
Despite the new opposition to the bill, the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest gay rights groups, said Tuesday that it continues to support the bill “because it will provide essential workplace protections to millions of LGBT people.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), a lead sponsor of ENDA and the Senate’s first openly lesbian member, said Tuesday that she was reviewing the decision of groups to withdraw support for the bill. She noted that the bill’s religious exemption language had been tweaked last year to secure more support from Democrats and Republicans, “and there was clearly discomfort expressed at that point” by gay rights groups concerned that the changes might make it easier for employers to seek religious exemptions.
(Courtesy of WashingtonPost.com)
Researchers from the University of Melbourne surveyed 315 same-sex parents with a total of 500 children. About 80% of the children have female parents, while 18% have male parents.
The children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6% higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion. They were equivalent to those from the general population on measures of temperament and mood, behaviour, mental health and self-esteem.
The lead researcher, Simon Crouch, said same-sex couples are more likely to share childcare and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual parent families, based more on skills rather than gender roles.
“This appears to be contributing to a more harmonious household and having a positive impact on child health,” he said.
But about two-thirds of these children experience some form of stigma due to their parents’ sexual orientation, Crouch said.
“What we have found is that the more stigma these families experience the greater the impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of children.”
The most recent census counted 6,300 children living in same-sex-couple families.
(Courtesy of theGuardian.com)
The month begins with Mercury going direct (yippee) on July 1, 2014. Issues connected to communication, travel, computers, home remodels, machinery, cars, and new projects will be much more positive now. So, if you’ve been holding your breath about making new plans, you can exhale now!
As usual, I’d like to add a note of caution for July. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be a good astrologer. The Sun in Cancer will be opposing Pluto in Capricorn, and then squaring Uranus in Aries during the first days of the month. July 4 and July 8 will be key dates. This will “re-activate” the Grand Cardinal Cross, a controversial and volatile astrological influence that occurred in late April of 2014. Those of you who were on that wild roller-coaster ride around the last two weeks of April will remember it well, I imagine.
Without being all doom and gloomy, suffice it to say that the beginning of July may have some drama associated with it. Power struggles are likely during this period, both on the personal level, and in the political arena. Oh, and the fact that the Sun/Pluto opposition is exact on July 4th makes it an auspicious and tense day for the Good Ole US of A, as that it her birthday. And a head’s up for Cancers born July 1-10. This will be a year of strong transformational energy for you!
There’s a Full Moon in Capricorn on July 12/13. Full Moons are a focal point for energy each month. With the Sun in Cancer and the Full Moon in Capricorn, the energy will be about the Yin/Yang polarity, responsibility, commitment, and family. This Full Moon sheds light on the balance, or lack thereof, between business life and personal life. Use the strong energy of the Full Moon to align yourself with your spiritual side, but remember to keep your feet on the ground!
There’s a New Moon in Leo on July 26, opening up a window for new thoughts and plans. New Moons are quiet, neutral, and potent times for inward reflection and preparation for future action.
Astro-Opportunity Days: July 7, 8, 9, 16, 20, 25, 29 and 30.
Femastrology Horoscopes for July 2014
For all the Sun Signs: Mercury direct will be a wonderful opportunity to get connected to your aspirations and ambitions. Some of the things that happened last month may have been frustrating. This is a great time to fix up anything that went haywire in June and put it behind you. Watery energy abounds with the Sun in Cancer, Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces. Take advantage of this unique vibe. Connect to your emotions. Share your feelings. Work with your psychic abilities. Connect to your dreams. All things “watery” are enhanced during this time period. Even being in or near water has a more powerful effect! So plan a trip to an ocean, lake, or river near you! This is also a fantastic time for art and creativity.
Aries (March 21-April 19) Aries born in early April are probably wondering what the *&)(% as the Universe keeps demanding they break from their old patterns. All Rams will benefit now by taking time to bring more balance and harmony into the home and family department.
Taurus (April 20-May 20) Taureans, particularly those of you born in early May, are learning powerful lessons about relationship. Don’t waste time with those who do not reciprocate. Pay attention to writing and communication now. Get to the point and avoid being scattered. Take care of car issues.
Gemini (May 21-June 20) Venus, the Love Goddess, is in your sign! Single twins (oxymoron) should expect to get lucky! Your creativity will be high, so use it! On the more mundane front, take care of any loose ends pertaining to money. This includes any financial obligations you have with a partner.
Cancer (June 21-July 21) Powerful forces are pushing you to change the way your present yourself to the world, and some of your most important relationships. Your life is transforming. Make a conscious effort to gain clarity about your top priorities. Fateful decisions now will open new roads to achievement and personal satisfaction.
Leo (July 23-August 22) This is a good time to slow things down a little and regroup. Take care of your health and all matters of daily life. Jupiter will be in your sign soon enough, and you will want your wits about you. Many amazing things will be possible in the weeks to come. Conserve your energy.
Virgo (August 23-September 22) This could be a highly fortuitous period for social interaction. Helpful people abound…so make sure you are making out their connecting to them. You may feel some nervous energy around finances. Just keep putting energy into progress there, and things will improve.
Libra (September 23-October 22) Your outer world beckons now. Put energy into career goals. Let people see you and what you are capable of. Don’t be lazy. Now is the time to stretch your wings. Don’t cling to old goals that haven’t materialized. Concentrate on the NEW.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Saturn in Scorpio has probably become your BFF by now. And that’s a good thing. You should have the energy and patience to remove obstacles and forge ahead. This month could be both pleasant and productive.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Finish up old business and get ready to truly put the past behind you. It’s time. Sagittarians me be wondering about relationships, both business and personal, that are not quite tangible. My advice: connect with those whose interest in you is obvious.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19) The challenge this month: how to make yourself happy, and please others at the same time. Frankly, if you are having anxiety about committing to things or people, it’s probably your “gut” telling to take a step backwards.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18) Sometimes you just have to attend to the business at hand. If things aren’t flowing in your personal world, health, and your home environment, it will affect your outer world eventually. Find your inner balance.
Pisces (February 19-March 20) Use your inspiration and creative energy to manifest your own needs. Sounds simple, right? But if you are not being clear about your true needs and priorities, suddenly, it becomes impossible. Eyes wide open!
Victoria Bearden has practiced astrology for over 30 years, with clients across the country and abroad. To set up a personal consultation you can call her at 760-634-1028 or visit her web site at www.victoriabearden.com.
- An exclusive interview with Executive Producer Marina Bader of “Elena Undone” and “A Perfect Ending” …now with her Directorial Debut of “Anatomy of a Love Seen”;
- Aphrodisiacs in the Kitchen with HERstyle’s Summer of Love;
- Airmail by Babe, “I just hitch up my girdle and give it all I’ve got.”;
- Angelina Jolie, what Fairly Tales are made of;
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