Roy Moore: Marriage equality will lead to parents marrying their children


“I don’t want to. You can’t make me. So nyah-nyah-nyah.”

That’s what Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court and a bunch of same-sex couples in Alabama who just wanted to get married.

Maybe I paraphrased a little bit. But that’s basically the gist of Moore’s insistence that he does not have to abide by the mandates of the federal courts, especially when it comes to legally recognizing same-sex marriage.

And on Monday, Feb. 9, Moore explained to ABC News that he has to stop same-sex marriage, because if loving, committed adult couples of the same gender are allowed to legally marry, then all hell is gonna break loose and then “men and their daughters or women and their sons” would be insisting they be allowed to get married too. (Watch the video above.)

As of 11 a.m. my time on Tuesday, Feb. 10, probate judges in 20 Alabama counties were abiding by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to extend a stay of a lower court order striking down the Alabama marriage ban, while the other 47 were participating in Moore’s temper tantrum and refusing to issue the licenses, according to Freedom to Marry.

U.S. District Court Judge Ginny Granade issued two separate rulings in two separate marriage equality cases last month — on Jan. 23 and Jan. 26 — that struck down Alabama’s ban on legal recognition of same-sex marriage. She issued a stay, that was set to expire this past Monday, Feb. 9. The state appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which refused to extend the stay. The state then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend the stay, and SCOTUS  also refused. (The ruling there was 7-2).

(Just to jog your memory, Moore is the guy who was kicked out of the Alabama Chief Justice’s seat back in 2003 when he kicked and screamed and held his breath and refused to remove a 10 Commandments monument — that he had commissioned and had installed — from the state’s Supreme Court building. The good people then re-elected him as chief justice in 2012 — after his two failed bids to become governor and a presidential bid that ended before it started.)

Anyway, Sunday night, Feb. 8, after the 11th Circuit Court refused to extend the stay, Moore ordered the probate judges in the state’s 67 counties not to issue licenses to same-sex couples. His reasoning was that since he was the only person who could order the state’s probate judges to issue marriage licenses, and since he was not named in the lawsuit, the federal court’s ruling does not apply to him.

Moore told WND Faith website on Monday, Feb. 9, he’s not backing away from the state court versus federal court fight over marriage, because he believes, constitutionally, the states are allowed to define the institution.

And it will remain that way unless the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on the merits, he contends.

But from what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said on Monday, Feb. 9, in the statement he wrote noting his dissent in the court’s 7-1 decision not to stay Granade’s ruling in Alabama, Moore is just (partially) delaying the inevitable.

Thomas and Antonin Scalia were the two justices who wanted the stay extended. In his dissent, Thomas said that the ruling “may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution” on the four marriage equality cases justices agreed to hear on appeal out of the Sixth Circuit. He argued that the court’s normal practice would have been to put the Alabama case on hold until it had decided the cases it has agreed to hear.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the four cases in April, and likely issue a ruling sometime in June.

The Supreme Court last October refused to hear appeals on marriage equality cases in other federal appellate circuits, but all of those trial and appellate courts had ruled in favor of equality. SCOTUS also refused in to extend the stay on a Florida trial court judge’s ruling in favor of equality, allowing same-sex marriages to begin in that state on Jan. 5. But that was before the court agreed to hear appeals of the four cases from the Sixth Circuit Court, the only federal appellate court to rule against marriage equality since the Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling that struck down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

—  Tammye Nash

Quasney loses battle to cancer

Nikki Quasney, pictured here with her wife, Sandler, died last Thursday, Feb. 5.

Nikki Quasney, left, pictured here with her wife, Amy Sandler, died last Thursday, Feb. 5. The two were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that successfully challenged Indiana’s marriage equality ban.

Niki Quasney, one of the plaintiffs in the marriage equality lawsuit in Indiana, died Thursday, Feb. 5, after battling ovarian cancer for more than five years. She was 38 years old.

In a press release issued Sunday, Feb. 8, a spokesperson for Lambda Legal said that Quasney died with her wife, Amy Sandler, her mother and five siblings at her side. Lambda Legal represented Quasney and Sandler in their successful challenge to Indiana’s marriage equality ban.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul Castillo said in the press release: “Niki and Amy and their daughters became Indiana’s first family when they bravely joined Lambda Legal’s marriage case, which meant openly sharing very personal and painful parts of their journey together as Niki battled cancer.  They brought this case and fought so hard because they loved each other and wanted their daughters to be treated with respect, just like any other family in Indiana.

“They also fought for all same-sex couples and their children in Indiana. They never wanted to be alone in recognition of their family. They knew that by coming forward they could help accelerate equality for all same-sex couples in Indiana by demonstrating the urgency of their need for equal dignity.”

Castillo also noted: “To date, this marriage case was the fastest, from filing to victory, through a federal circuit court. The courts were touched by Niki’s and Amy’s story, and accelerated not just Indiana’s marriage cases, but Wisconsin’s as well. The opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was one of the most scathing attacks on marriage bans from a court. Niki and Amy’s bravery made history.

“Niki told the court: ‘If my life is cut short because of ovarian cancer, I want our children to know that their parents were treated like other married couples in their home state, and to be proud of this. I want to know what it feels like to be a legally recognized family in our community, together with Amy and our daughters.’

“Niki spent the last year of her life on earth very publicly fighting for her family and doing everything she could to make sure that her wife and daughters were protected. Although our hearts are heavy, we celebrate Niki’s life and take comfort in knowing that Niki and her family were able to know — through their own efforts — what equality feels like. We thank Niki and Amy for their courage to stand up for their family and lead the fight for marriage in Indiana. We all owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.”

—  Tammye Nash

Marriage begins in Alabama, HRC calls for Moore’s impeachment

Marriage_Equality_Map_FL_01-30-2015Marriage has begun in Alabama, according to the Alabama Media Group, despite orders to the contrary from the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition to remove Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from office. Moore urged the governor of Alabama and probate judges, who issue licenses in the state, to stand in the way of same-sex marriages despite an explicit order by a federal judge.

The HRC petition calls on the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Moore — who previously declared that homosexuality should be a punishable offense and grounds for losing parental custody — for shirking the law and the obligations of his office.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is sitting this round out, according to the Washington Blade. Asked if the House Republican leadership would weigh in on the outcome of pending marriage equality litigation before the Supreme Court in an official capacity, Boehner said, “I don’t expect that we’re going to. The court will make its decision and that’s why they’re there, to be the highest court in the land.”

Unlike in the Windsor case, where the federal government was a party in the case and the GOP congressional leadership spent $2.3 million in taxpayer dollars to defend the law, the federal government is not a party in the current case pending before the Supreme Court.

—  David Taffet

Rea Carey lays out agenda at Creating Change

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Rea Carey

National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey spoke today (Friday, Feb. 6), at Creating Change in Denver, setting out an agenda as the movement achieves one goal: marriage equality.

Among the top items on the agenda is to secure nondiscrimination protections that protect our lives without broad religious exemptions.

“I don’t become less of a human if your humanity is recognized,” Carey said.

Ending policies that criminalize our lives, such as criminalizing people with HIV or using condoms as evidence that a trans person is a sex worker, is another Task Force goal.

Carey also called racial profiling an LGBTQ issue that must be stopped. She spoke about Ty Underwood, the trans woman killed in Tyler, and called hate against the trans community an epidemic.

—  David Taffet

Michigan to recognize same-sex marriages performed in state

Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced it would recognize about 300 same-sex marriages performed in the state last March, according to MLive, a digital consortium of Michigan newspapers.

After the state’s same-sex marriage law was overturned, about 300 marriages were performed before the ruling was stayed. The federal government already is recognizing those marriages.

The 6th Circuit overturned the ruling and the case will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, although the date has not been set.

A federal injunction set to take effect on Thursday, Feb. 5, required the state to recognize those marriages and Snyder announced the state would not appeal.

—  David Taffet

Day of Decision rallies planned in Dallas, FW, around the state

phariss holmes

Texas marriage equality lawsuit plaintiffs, from left, Nicole Dimetman, Cleo DeLeon, Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss

If and when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hands down a ruling in the three marriage equality cases — including a case from Texas — in which the court heard oral arguments on Jan. 9, Day of Decision rallies will be in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio — whichever way the court rules.

The rallies will begin at 6 p.m. the day the ruling is issued.

The Dallas rally will be held at Cathedral of Hope-UCC church, 5710 Cedar Springs Road. Plano couple Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, one of the two plaintiff couples in the Texas marriage equality case, are expected to be at the Dallas rally, along with Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell.

The Fort Worth event will be held at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvannia Ave.

—  Tammye Nash

Third Republican signs onto Respect for Marriage Act

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Rep. Robert Dold

Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., today (Monday, Feb. 2) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, according to a statement released by Freedom to Marry.

Dold joins Republican co-sponsors Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York, raising the total to three Republican co-sponsors.

The Respect for Marriage Act was reintroduced on Jan. 6 and would ensure that the federal government respects all valid marriages across every single federal agency.

“This legislation is an important step toward ensuring that the federal government upholds its obligation to afford equal protection for all Americans. Washington should no longer stand in the way of loving unions between two people that have already been legally recognized in states like the one I represent,” Dold said in the statement.

“The growth of support among Republicans for the freedom to marry shows that America is, indeed, ready to turn the page on past discrimination and that it is time for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution,” said Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, of Dold’s decision. “Congressman Dold is doing the right thing for his party, as well as for families and the American people.”

Even as marriage equality has swept the nation, legally married same-sex couples face obstacles to obtaining Social Security and veterans’ benefits as mandated by federal law. If a same-sex couple is legally married but lives in or moves to a state that doesn’t respect the marriage, they cannot share in these programs. If passed, the Respect for Marriage Act would fix this inequity with a provision that requires the federal government to respect all legal marriages for the purposes of all federal programs.

—  James Russell

Alabama judge issues second ruling upholding equality

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued a second ruling today (Tuesday, Jan. 27) upholding marriage equality in Alabama, according to Freedom To Marry, the national organization working for marriage equality nation wide.

Granade, appointed by President George W. Bush, issued a similar ruling on Friday, Jan. 23, in a different marriage equality case. Both rulings have been stayed for 14 days pending appeals. But if the stays are not extended, same-sex couples should be able to legally marry in Alabama beginning the week of Feb. 9, making it the 37th marriage equality state.

(And unless the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of marriage equality very quickly and chooses not to issue a stay, that would mean Alabama will be a functioning marriage equality state before Texas. Alabama, y’all!)

Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said of the newest ruling: “Today’s victory in Alabama is the latest in a number of marriage wins from a bipartisan cascade of courts across the country, including the Deep South. When the first couples marry, their neighbors across Alabama will see that families are helped and no one is hurt. As we look forward to a nationwide ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, this tremendous momentum shows that America — all of America — is truly ready for the freedom to marry.”

—  Tammye Nash

Join the discussion, join the battle to end discrimination

Marriage equality efforts are getting the lion’s share of the headlines these days: Texans wait on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on marriage equality in The Lone Star State (and Louisiana and Mississippi), and the nation waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the question once and for all.

But as the LGBT community makes great strides toward marriage equality, hundreds of thousands of LGBT people in the U.S. daily face the very real threat of discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and more.

Today (Monday, Jan. 26), LGBT equality groups nationwide began holding public awareness events, including launching an online discussion using #discriminationexists, to shine a light on the fact that so many hardworking people still do not have basic legal protections from discrimination.

(You can follow the discussion at DiscriminationExists.org.)

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Here in North Texas, and across the state, community leaders took the chance today to speak out against discrimination, issuing a call to action to LGBTs and their supporters in all areas and in all walks of life to join the fight for real equality,

Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas: “The Texas I believe in is a land of opportunity and freedom, where people who work hard and meet their responsibilities have a chance to get ahead. Clear protections from discrimination would help ensure that all Texans, including those who are gay or transgender, have a fair opportunity to earn a living, meet their obligations, provide for themselves and their families and build a better life. Changing the law won’t end all unfair treatment overnight. But it provides one more tool to ensure that all Texans are treated fairly and equally.”

Cece Cox, chief executive officer at Resource Center: “Discrimination exists against LGBTQ people at many levels. We have no statewide protections in areas like employment and public accommodations, and even in those few cities where protections exist, some state lawmakers want to see those protections removed. Texans overwhelmingly support fairness and equal opportunity for all people.”

Lou Weaver, trans outreach specialist for Texas Wins: “We have been talking about same-sex marriage for a long time in the U.S. We need to also think about basic rights for everyone: ‘Can I get a job? Can I find a place to live?’ Transgender people are still facing discrimination at high rates, and we need to take an honest look at our policies. We need access to basic fairness and equality in order to survive. That is what this is about, living our lives and having access to the same opportunities as everyone else.”

The Rev. Steve Sprinkle, professor of practical theology at Brite Divinity School: “Faith leaders of every background believe that everyone is created with God-given dignity. Our faith calls upon us to speak out for everyone’s dignity and security in the work they do, and for full access to housing. No one in our country should live in fear of losing their job or being denied fair housing just because of who they are.”

Todd Whitley, board chair for Hope for Peace & Justice: “It is hard to imagine any person being able to enjoy a sense of peace on their job or entering a public accommodation if that person has no assurance they won’t legally be discriminated against because of who they are. Sadly, this is exactly the reality for gay and transgender people in our state, -a grave injustice that must be resolved so that we can all enjoy the same opportunities without fear of legalized discrimination.”

A recent poll found that 9 of out 10 voters think that a federal law is already in place protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination. Unfortunate, that is not true. There is no federal nondiscrimination law, and here in Texas, there is no state law either. We remain vulnerable in so many areas.

But Equality Texas officials say their organization is working to change that, partnering with business leaders, faith leaders and community members to put the necessary protections in place.

Toward that end, Equality Texas is holding three advocacy days, beginning Feb. 17 with Faith Advocacy Day in Austin. More than 225 faith leaders and members of clergy and 65 first responders in Texas have signed on to publicly demonstrate their support for nondiscrimination already.

Visit EqualityTexas.org to find out what you can do to help.

—  Tammye Nash

Judge rules Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional

EqualityA federal judge ruled Alabama’s sane-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional

According to the Huffington Post, “U.S. District Judge Callie Granade ruled that Alabama’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, known as the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, violates the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses.”

“If anything, Alabama’s prohibition of same-sex marriage detracts from its goal of promoting optimal environments for children,” Granade writes. “Those children currently being raised by same-sex parents in Alabama are just as worthy of protection and recognition by the State as are the children being raised by opposite-sex parents. Yet Alabama’s Sanctity laws harms the children of same-sex couples for the same reasons that the Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act harmed the children of same-sex couples.”

 

—  James Russell