NOM loses, Idaho governor loses and Ark. attorney general loses, so all appeal

Rosenblum.Ellen

Oregon Atty. Gen. Ellen Rosenblum

Judges in Idaho, Oregon and Arkansas just didn’t seem to be in the mood to listen to state officials today who didn’t care for their rulings. Virginia rolled out the same old, tired arguments that have been struck down across the country in its appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter seems desperate to prevent his state’s same-sex couples from marrying beginning Friday. The trial judge refused to put a stay on her decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

Otter said he would ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay pointing to the “unmitigated disaster” that occurred in Utah after that state’s marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional.

Although he didn’t explain the disaster, he probably meant that about 1,300 couples married in Utah between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay. Those couples’ marriages are recognized by the federal government for tax and benefit purposes. Utah announced that it would allow those couples to file joint state taxes as well.

So you can see what a disaster marriage has been in Utah, but with the Supreme Court stay, Otter is exaggerating by calling the disaster unmitigated. The court mitigated the horror of couples filing their taxes jointly and, in most cases, paying more.

The 9th Circuit is not expected to grant a stay to Idaho. That circuit includes marriage-equality states Washington, California and Hawaii and has ruled in favor of marriage equality in the past. However, the Supreme Court is likely to stay the decision until appeals are exhausted. That may take several weeks.

Speaking of 9th Circuit states, Oregon is the latest state whose marriage law challenge has begun. Last week, the National Organization for Marriage filed papers to defend the marriage laws because the state attorney general declined to defend it.

Today, a federal judge declined to allow NOM to participate in the case.

“This is an Oregon case. It will remain an Oregon case,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane said.

NOM plans to appeal the judge’s decision to the 9th Circuit as well. The judge cited Hollingsworth v. Perry, better known as the Prop 8 case. That Supreme Court decision last year said interveners had to have standing. An organization can’t intervene just because they don’t like the interpretation of government officials.

Oregon Atty. Gen. Ellen Rosenblum is representing the state in the case, but she called the law indefensible.

In Arkansas, the attorney general continues to ask for a stay because of confusion over the ruling. The ruling said the state’s marriage law was unconstitutional. Some county clerks have begun issuing licenses while others have not.

The confusion seems to be among county clerks who don’t seem to want to comply with the ruling, not with the couples who read the ruling and went to the county clerks’ offices and asked for licenses. About 400 couples have married in Arkansas already.

Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee called for the judge’s impeachment.

In Virginia, the state argued that 1.3 million voters passed an amendment. That argument was knocked down earlier this week in Idaho. Virginia also argued the plaintiffs do not have the right to redefine marriage, and they can’t give children a mother and a father.

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: Idaho becomes marriage equality state No. 19 on Friday

Gov Butch Otter

Gov. Butch Otter

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Judge Candy Dale denied Gov. Butch Otter’s request for a stay to delay marriage equality until after all appeals are exhausted. Marriage will begin on Friday.

ORIGINAL STORY: Expecting to lose in U.S. District Court, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter filed a motion for a stay of the court’s expected marriage-equality ruling before it was handed down, according to the Idaho Statesman.

The case was heard on May 5. On Tuesday, Judge Candy Dale handed down a 57-page ruling. If the court doesn’t stay its decision, Idaho becomes marriage-equality state No. 19. Last week, Arkansas became equality-state No. 18.

In court, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden couldn’t come up with any real reasons to deny same-sex couples to marry. The state’s main argument was that Idaho voters decided the issue in 2006, and the defendants misread the case if they thought that vote was driven by animus.

Judge Candy Dale wrote, “Because Idaho’s Marriage Laws impermissibly infringe on Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marry, the Laws are subject to strict due process and equal protection scrutiny.”

Dale said the state’s marriage laws “unambiguously expresses a singular purpose — to exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage in Idaho” and found the laws unconstitutional under due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The judge debunked the state’s argument voters weren’t motivated by animus.

“But ‘preserving the traditional institution of marriage’ is just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples,” Dale wrote.

Just how many people does this affect? The U.S. Census Bureau reported 3,245 same-sex households in Idaho in the 2010 census.

In Arkansas, where the marriage laws were declared unconstitutional on Friday, 400 couples have married since the state began issuing licenses on Saturday.

—  David Taffet

Movie Monday: ‘Weekend’ at the Magnolia

Start week out with the ‘Weekend’

Weekend conjures moments of early Gus Van Sant, like My Own Private Idaho and Drugstore Cowboy: It’s full of textures and naturalistic moments that feel unforced. Haigh is a master of long takes that are voyeuristic without seeming prurient. When Glen and Russell meet up again, their banter is both meaningless and confessional, which creates a palpable tension. Their body language points to hormones racing, but they are determined not to make this relationship only about sex, even though the sexual energy is undeniable. This makes the scenes romantic and erotic, and when they explode with passion, you don’t feel like the director has inserted a de rigueur sex scene, but encapsulated the dynamics of the hookup-turned-real-relationship dance (including the slightly scary obsessiveness of “Is this the one?” angst).

Read the entire review here.

—  Rich Lopez

What’s Brewing: Texas Legislature may limit access to drugs for thousands with HIV/AIDS

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Today is the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, also known as IDAHO, which commemorates the World Health Organization’s removal of homosexuality from its list of mental disorders on May 17, 1990. Activists in Dallas will mark the event for the first time this year, with a march and candlelight vigil beginning at the JFK Memorial downtown. For more info, go here.

2. As a House-Senate conference committee works to finalize the state budget, funding for the Texas HIV Medication Program hangs in the balance. The program, which provides life-sustaining drugs to low-income people with HIV/AIDS, needs an additional $19.2 million over the next two years to serve 3,000 anticipated new clients. The House version of the budget leaves out the needed funds, while the Senate version includes them. Now it’s up to the conference committee to resolve the discrepancy. If the committee doesn’t include the $19.2 million in the final budget, the program likely will be forced to turn away clients or otherwise limit access. Contact members of the House-Senate conference committee and urge them to fully fund the Texas HIV Medication Program by going here.

3. Now that David Kunkle and Mike Rawlings have advanced to a runoff for Dallas mayor, we’re hosting an LGBT forum for the two candidates next week at the Cathedral of Hope. A large turnout for the forum will serve as a reminder to Kunkle and Rawlings that the LGBT community in Dallas is a force to be reckoned with. For details or to RSVP, go here.

—  John Wright

Ummm … so apparently today is the International Day Against Homophobia

And I only found out because of Twitter.

According to this, every May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia or, and I kid you not, IDAHO for short. Thanks to the reappearing hashtags, #IDAHO, #homophobia and #homofobia, which Ricky Martin used in his tweet, I decided to give it a look-see. Now I’m kinda red-faced I didn’t even know this existed. The day is initiated by the Canadian organization, Fondation Émergence.

—  Rich Lopez