action: maura healey wants your same-sex marriage story [#ma4equality]

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via The Rainbow Times:

What you can do to help

Some questions that could assist people willing to submit their story are:

  • How has marriage equality changed your life?
  • What would it mean for your family to have marriage equality across the country?
  • How have you felt when you’ve visited or moved to states which don’t recognize same-sex marriage?
  • Did you choose not to enroll at a school or take a job because the state doesn’t have marriage equality?

When sharing your stories and ideas use the hashtag ‪#‎MA4Equality. According to Healey, if “we need to reach you directly about your story we will follow up individually.”

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news: marriage equality bans upheld by 4th circuit court

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via NPR:

Analyzing the circuit court’s reasoning, Nina cites the majority opinion’s idea that “the states had a rational basis, a reason — you might not like the reason, but it was a reasonable reason, so to speak — and that is by creating a status, marriage, and subsidizing it with tax privileges and deductions, the states created an incentive for two people who procreated together to stay together, for purposes of rearing offspring.”

The court’s opinion continues, “That does not convict the States of irrationality, only of awareness of the biological reality that couples of the same sex do not have children in the same way as couples of opposite sexes and that couples of the same sex do not run the risk of unintended offspring. That explanation, still relevant today, suffices to allow the States to retain authority over an issue they have regulated from the beginning.”

news: scotus + marriage round-up

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For your Tuesday morning, here’s some of the commentary that’s come across my desk regarding the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear any of the pending cases regarding marriage equality:

Nina Totenberg @ NPR’s Morning Edition: Supreme Court Declines to Take Up Gay Marriage Appeals.

Lyle Denniston @ SCOTUSBlog: Many More Same-Sex Marriages Soon, But Where?

With not a single dependable hint of its own constitutional view of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court in one fell swoop on Monday cleared the way for gays and lesbians to wed in a batch of new states — starting first in five more states, and probably adding six more in the coming weeks.  If that happens in all eleven, it will mean that same-sex marriages would then be legal in thirty states and Washington, D.C.

Amy Howe @ SCOTUSBlog: First Monday Surprise on Same-Sex Marriage: In Plain English.

We all assumed that the issue would be back again at the Court before too long, and that expectation only increased as lower federal courts around the country started to rely on the Court’s decision inWindsor to strike down other states’ bans on same-sex marriage – in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin.   All told, by last Monday the Court had before it seven different petitions asking the Court to weigh in on whether states can prohibit same-sex marriage.  With all of the parties on both sides in all of the cases in agreement that the Supreme Court should take up the question, review seemed inevitable.

Until this morning at 9:30, when the Court turned down all seven of the petitions, without comment.

Paul Waldman @ The American Prospect: Is Nationwide Marriage Equality Now Inevitable? Almost But Not Quite.

But there is one scenario by which what today seems like an inevitable forward movement for marriage equality could be undone, and it may be the only hope conservatives have left. It involves a Republican winning the White House in 2016 and a liberal justice retiring, to be replaced by a conservative.

Amy Davidson @ The New Yorker: The Supreme Court’s Biggest Gay Marriage Decision.

It turns out, though, that the historic fifty-state case might already be on the books. Its name is Windsor v. United States and it was decided in the summer of 2013. Edith Windsor, a widow in her eighties, had challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which kept the federal government from recognizing state-sanctioned same-sex marriages. In Windsor’s case, that meant that she was left with a large estate-tax bill when her wife, whom she had nursed through a long illness, died. (Ariel Levy wrote about Windsor’s wondrous marriage to Thea Spyer in her Profile “The Perfect Wife.”) Windsor won, with the help of her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan. The thought at the time was that Windsor’s victory did not bring equality to any new state. (Although, arguably, no state truly had marriage equality before Windsor, given the constraints of DOMA.) But, as lower courts have read the Windsor decision, they have noticed that its language and legal reasoning, which invokes due process and equal protection, silently condemns state bans on same-sex marriage as well. And, one after the other, they’ve overturned those bans. If they keep doing so, the Supreme Court won’t have to rule again. (I’ve written about this possibility before.)

Got links? Drop ’em in comments! or send them in to queernea [at] gmail [dot] com.

news: gay/trans “panic” defense illegal in CA

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via ROYGBIV:

Hard to believe this isn’t already illegal in ALL THE PLACES, but kudos to California’s legislature and Governor Jerry Brown for making California the first state in the union to ban the use of the so-called “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense. Since, you know, your phobia of LGBT+ people is not justification for hurting or killing us.

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Saturday AB 2051 prohibiting the I-can’t-believe-this-was-still-legal-in-California-in-2014 homophobic and transphobic “defense,” according to East Bay Express. What’s worse, although not surprising, is this horribleness has actually been usedsuccessfully. Like in a real court of law! Here! In 2008, Brandon McInerney was convicted not of murder but voluntary manslaughter for shooting his high school classmate, Larry King, in the back of the head after his counsel used “gay panic” as a defense. He did end up taking a plea deal including second degree murder, but life in prison was taken off the table.

news: civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of transgender workers

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via RhRealityCheck

It’s the first time the federal government has sued to protect transgender rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In two complaints, filed Thursday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in federal courts in Michigan and Florida, the commission alleges that two employees faced workplace discrimination because they are transgender.

According to the EEOC, Detroit-based R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. discriminated based on sex in violation of federal law by firing a Garden City, Michigan, funeral director-embalmer because she is transgender. Amiee Stephens had been employed by Harris as a funeral director and embalmer since October 2007.