Marriage equality updates from around most of the country … but not Texas

Marriage_Equality_MapSouth Carolina

After the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles refused to allow Julie McEldowney to use her married name on her driver’s license, she filed suit against the state. She had already changed her name legally with the Social Security Administration.

Nebraska

Those wacky Catholics who are following the Pope and not a bunch of out-of-touch cardinals and bishops.

Omaha’s Creighton University, a Jesuit school, will offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees. The move comes after the local Catholic archbishop voiced objections to the decision. The archbishop objected but school president the Rev. Timothy Lannon said that Creighton must also meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities.

Arizona

Since marriage equality came to Arizona last week, county clerks in all 15 counties have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. An estimated 300 licenses have been issued, meaning that roughly $20,000 has been brought to the state’s economy.

Montana

The Great Falls Tribune in Montana has published an editorial in favor of marriage equality.

“It’s time for the state of Montana to quit wasting taxpayers’ money and to accept gay marriage in Montana, even if churches can go their own way on this matter,” the editorial board wrote. “Some people still want to make political points with this issue, but we say, it’s too late for that. It’s all over.”

v.vember 20.

Kansas

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has scheduled a hearing in the case challenging Kansas’ marriage ban for this Friday, Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

Wyoming

Now that Wyoming is a marriage equality state, Equality Wyoming is working on adding sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination law. While it’s legal to get married in the state, a marriage license can be followed by a pink slip.

Missouri

While Missouri is still not a marriage equality state, it does recognize out-of-state marriages. So the Missouri State Employee’s Retirement System decided to add equal benefits for same-sex spouses.

That contrasts to Dallas where the city’s Employee Retirement Fund and Police and Fire Retirement boards have put roadblocks in the way of treating its LGBT employees equally despite a Dallas City Council mandate. The head of the ERF even had the gall to claim the board was doing everything it could to change the regulations after voting against a policy change herself.

—  David Taffet

This Week in Marriage Equality

Westboro-horiz

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has a new ally in his fight to stop marriage equality in his state — Westboro Baptist Church

The Department of Justice is a week late, but not one penny short. The department announced it will recognize marriages performed in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming, bringing the total to 32 states, which includes all marriage-equality states. DOJ announced recognition of seven states last week.

Marriage-equality attorney Ted Olsen said the U.S. Supreme Court is at a point of no return with marriage equality.

“I do not believe that the United States Supreme Court could rule that all of those laws prohibiting marriage are suddenly constitutional after all these individuals have gotten married and their rights have changed,” Olson said. “To have that snatched away, it seems to me, would be inhuman; it would be cruel; and it would be inconsistent with what the Supreme Court has said about these issues in the cases that it has rendered.”

However, officials in some of the new marriage equality states are throwing temper tantrums. Here’s how they’re dealing with it:

Idaho

State Sen. Steve Vicker suggested Idaho stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

“If we’re not allowed to determine the standards for a marriage license, then maybe we should just not issue them,” Vicker told WorldNetDaily. “Another potential avenue I’m exploring is just eliminating marriage licenses in Idaho.”

Great idea. It’s usually called cutting off your nose despite your face and that’ll last until the first straight couple that planned a wedding in Idaho finds out they can’t get married.

North Carolina

After the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts ordered state court administrators to marry same-sex couples, 28 Republican state senators wrote a letter asking the order be reversed. They claim the order violates religious freedom. Senate leader Phil Berger promised to introduce legislation protecting state officials who wish not to marry or perform weddings for same-sex couples. Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis hired National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman to lead a legal team appealing a ruling that overturned the state’s marriage ban earlier this month.

Kansas

Kansas continues to resist coming into compliance with its circuit court and begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Anti-gay Gov. Sam Brownback, who is leading the state’s opposition to marriage equality and is up for reelection next week, has a powerful new ally — Westboro Baptist Church. The God Hates Fags Church filed a motion in to join Brownback in his suit to stop equality.

In her motion to the court, church leader Margie Phelps, who is an attorney, included the entire stories of Noah and the destruction of Sodom. Oddly, the story of Sodom is about the sin of not welcoming the stranger. It isn’t clear from her motion if she understood she was appealing to a U.S. court, not a religious court.

—  David Taffet

Watch: ‘I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore’

Kansas

Rich Juzwiak at FourFour, who should get a special Oscar for his assemblages of clips, takes on Judy Garland's famous line with this supercut.

He writes

"What's interesting to me about that is that it's at cliche status at this point, yet unlike, say, 'catch-22' or the also frequently mangled 'You're going to need a bigger boat,' the saying hasn't superseded its source, no matter how many times it's been said (as evident in the amount of times Toto and Dorothy are brought up alongside it). It's pretty amazing how tenacious a hold Oz still has on pop culture (I find myself referencing it constantly, and not just in the 'Kansas' way)."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

KANSAS: Disabled Iraq Vet Arrested For Stalking Westboro Church Members

An 26 year-old veteran who lost both his legs in Iraq has been charged with stalking members of the Westboro Baptist Church after police found him following the Westboro family van in a car stocked with handguns, a rifle, and dozens of rounds of ammunition.

Sedgwick County sheriff’s detectives arrested Newell mid-morning Tuesday in the Wichita City Hall parking lot after a detective saw him following a van that carried Westboro church members. The church members were meeting in City Hall with police officials. Detectives found Newell in a vehicle backed into a parking space. In the vehicle, investigators found two handguns, a rifle and more than 90 rounds of ammunition, sources have said. The stalking charge accuses Newell of actions targeted at Westboro members and putting them in fear for their safety. The weapons charges accuse him of unlawfully carrying and concealing or possessing with “intent to use” an M4 rifle, .45-caliber Glock handgun and .38-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun.

At Newell’s arraignment several lawyers arrived to offer pro bono defense services, prompting the judge to quip, “The more, the merrier.” Reportedly “many other lawyers” have contacted him with the same offer. Newell, who uses a wheelchair due to difficulties adjusting to Army-supplied prosthetic legs, pleaded not guilty via a video link from his cell. He is being held on 0,000 bond on one felony and several misdemeanor charges. Other charges may be filed pending the result of an FBI search of his home.

Westboro’s Megan Phelps comments on Twitter: “Peacefully protesting institutionalized sin on public sidewalks =\= loading up your car with weapons & lying in wait to commit murder. But somehow, in the totally backward minds of many of you, the former (loving our neighbor) is worse than the latter (planning murder)! Wtf?” Phelps claims that Newell was planning to murder her parents and the 26 children in the Westboro clan.

A defense fund has been set up for Newell via several popular conservative websites. Late this afternoon the Facebook page “Let Ryan Newell Go” was established. Westboro will continue with their planned Hanukkah picket of a Harvard student Jewish group tomorrow.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Watch: Gay Kansas Candidate Dan Manning Discusses Death Threat

Manning_dan

Earlier this week, I posted about the death threats posted to the front door of gay Kansas House candidate and Army veteran Dan Manning’s home. Manning spoke with local station NBC2 about the threats:

“It was very scary. I wondered if there was still someone waiting at the house, someone who was waiting for me to come home. I checked the doors, checked the locks and called the police right away. It clearly has to do with my campaign and my sexual orientation. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to talk about this during this campaign, because it really is a distraction from what’s important.”

Manning’s opponent, incumbent Brenda Landwehr, has been using Manning’s sexual orientation to stir up her constituents.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Death Threats Won’t Shake Kansas Pol

DAN MANNING X390A gay politician in Kansas told the Wichita police department he
found a death threat clipped to the outside of his apartment door.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

KANSAS: Death Threats For Gay Democratic Candidate For State Legislature

The Kansas Equality Coalition writes us today to report that Dan Manning, a Democratic candidate for the state legislature, has had death threats posted to the front door of his home.

As many of you know, one of our Equality Coalition members, Dan Manning, is running for Kansas House of Representatives in Wichita. Originally from southern Georgia, Dan is a West Point graduate who served for 8 years in the US Army before being discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Dan has since made Kansas his home and directed his passion for serving our nation in to a campaign to serve in the state Legislature.

Dan’s opponent is long-time incumbent Brenda Landwehr. Landwehr, a notorious far-right conservative, has been a vocal opponent of equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgendered Kansans. Since February, she has used Dan’s sexual orientation to stir up her constituent. She has gone so far as to use language that Dan was told was “too offensive” to repeat. This weekend, the homophobia and name-calling took a dangerous and criminal turn. Dan arrived home from work on Saturday to find a death threat attached to his front door. Crudely cut from newspaper headlines was a crass note that read: “DISTRICT 91 Democrat Dan N. Manning, 29, production supervisor, manningforkansas.com” “2010 State House Election” “Will DIE” “FaGIT” “Kill” “HOMO” “MURDER” “Head OFF”

Read the Kansas Equality Coalition’s complete report, including their link to the death threat notes.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright