This Week in Marriage Equality: Kansas poised to become No. 33

PrintKansas

Kansas officials asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to place a stay on marriage equality while its case works its way through the courts. Either Kansas officials are just dumb or they’re looking for ways to delay equality.

The 10th Circuit already ruled that marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah violate due process and were created out of animus toward gays and lesbians. Why Kansas officials think that same court would rule the Kansas law doesn’t violate due process and there’s no animus there because, well, Dorothy is from Kansas, is anyone’s guess.

The court gave the state a one-week stay. That stay ends on Tuesday, Nov. 11, unless Justice Sonia Sotomayor grants a stay. However, even though the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the 8th Circuit’s Utah and Oklahoma rulings, they’ve already said they didn’t want to hear those cases. There’s no reason to stay the Oklahoma and Utah rulings for Kansas.

Mississippi

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves will hear a challenge to Mississippi’s marriage ban on Wednesday, Nov. 12. Reeves was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama. Bye bye Mississippi marriage ban.

A decision would be appealed to the 5th Circuit, which also includes Texas and Louisiana and which has not yet weighed in on marriage equality. That court is considered among the most conservative and could come down on the side of discrimination. The 5th Circuit will hear the Louisiana and Texas appeals in January.

Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky

Plaintiffs in the cases in the four states in the 6th Circuit — Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky — whose marriage bans were upheld last week will all appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In any of the cases, plaintiffs could have asked for an en banc hearing in which all of the 6th Circuit judges would have heard the case. Instead, rather than delaying the case and hoping for a nationwide resolution of the issue by the end of June 2015, they each decided for a direct appeal.

Because of the split among circuits, the U.S. Supreme Court is compelled to take a marriage case, but could delay hearing a case until next session. Since the 6th Circuit issued just one decision for all four states, the court could decide to hear from all states or could choose just one appeal.

—  David Taffet

LGBT news briefs

Idaho activists sentenced

A total of 23 LGBT activists arrested in February for protesting at the Idaho Statehouse were sentenced today on charges that included misdemeanor trespassing, and ordered to pay court costs based on the number of times they were arrested during ongoing protests calling for Idaho legislators to add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Human Rights Act.

Idaho State Police made more than 190 arrests by the time the legislative session ended in March. Among those sentenced today were two women who both lost children to suicide because of anti-LGBT discrimination.

Read more here at Pink News.

 

Maryland offers trans employees improved health benefits

FreeState Legal Project announced today that the state of Maryland has removed language from its employee health benefits policy denied coverage to transgender state employees for transition-related health care.  The state made the change as part of settlement of a legal claim filed by FreeState Legal on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh.

Read details here at FreeState Legal Project.

 

Obama endangers religious freedom in America (not really)

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes barely let the ink dry on President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination against LGBT people by those contracting with the federal government before he posted this “sky is falling” rant warning that the president is endangering religious freedom.

Starnes offers this quote from Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy dtudies at the Family Research Council: “This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail that bullies into silence every contractor and subcontractor who has moral objections to homosexual behavior.”

 

Lesbian tossed from water park for wearing men’s  swimwear

And also from Pink News:

Jill Sweeney of Indiana believes she was kicked out of WildWater Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan on July 9 after spending only three hours at the park for her bachelorette party because she was wearing men’s swimming trunks, a tank top, and a sports bra, and because she is a lesbian.

WildWater Adventure General Manager Camille Mark said guests at the water park are required to wear swimsuits, no street clothes allowed, and that Sweeney’s sports bra was considered street clothes. She also said Sweeney’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the situation.

Read more here.

—  Tammye Nash

This Week in Marriage Equality

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Dozens of people showed up for National Organization for Marriage’s annual March for Marriage — heterosexual-only marriage, that is.

Among the high-profile participants was Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who apparently participated mostly to piss off the majority of his own city’s population as well as his congresswoman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom who pleaded with him not to attend.

Presbyterians

The Presbyterian Church voted on Wednesday to allow pastors to marry same-sex couples in states where it’s legal. That must now be passed by a majority of the 172 local U.S. presbyteries.

Michigan

In a brief filed in Michigan’s marriage-equality case, 14 Republicans, including former state legislators, said conservative “values are advanced by recognizing civil marriage rights for same-sex couples,” not harmed.

“Providing access to civil marriage for same-sex couples poses no credible threat to religious freedom or to the institution of religious marriage,” they wrote in their brief.

Arizona

What the hell is going on with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona. First, she vetoed anti-gay legislation and now she says it’s time for legal protection.

HRC reported that on Tuesday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer acknowledged that Arizona laws do not prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and suggested that it might be time to change that.

“I do not believe in discrimination,” Brewer said. “We are in the United States of America and we have great privilege that is afforded to everyone.

Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals announced Monday they will heard all five cases pending before the court on August 6.

The court will hear cases from all four states in the circuit: DeBoer v. Snyder from Michigan; Bourke v. Beshear in Kentucky; Tanco v. Haslam in Tennessee; and both Henry v. Himes and Obergefell v. Himes in Ohio.

Both sides in the Michigan and Ohio cases will get 30 minutes to argue their case, while both sides in Kentucky and Tennessee will get 15 minutes.

—  David Taffet

Gay slur painted on Michigan teen’s home

The parents of a 16-year-old boy in Michigan said they believe his classmates painted an anti-gay slur on their home, along with an arrow that points to his bedroom, WEYI-TV reported.

Melanie Peabody and her husband tried to remove the graffiti, and they’re speaking out about the incident.

“I’m mad,” Melanie said. “My son’s not safe.”

The family lives in Vienna Township, a town of about 13,000 people in the middle of Michigan. Levi Peabody attends Clio High School.

“It does hurt,” he said. “As much as I don’t want to admit it, it does hurt that someone would dislike me that much to do something to my window.

The family has installed security cameras in their bedrooms as an attempt to catch the culprits, but the also want to send a message that they won’t tolerate the attacks.

“… It’s disgusting,” Melanie said.

The Genessee County Sheriff’s Department said they’re working with school officials to identify potential suspects.

—  Steve Ramos

Thanks for the push, Maggie. We like this Michigan poll too

This is how Maggie Gallagher, writing for the NOM Blog, presents new Michigan state polling data:

Screen Shot 2011-01-07 At 9.49.48 Am

[NOM BLOG]

So okay, let’s start with the “only 55 percent” claim. Are we seriously at a place where Maggie is painting a certain subdivision’s majority support for marriage equality as a good sign for her side? Because it wasn’t too long ago — as in HDTV was already around — that all breakdowns in all polls were under the 50% mark. If Maggie wants to look somewhat favorably at majority percentages like this one, in a world where support firms up every time a new voter turns eighteen, then that’s her prerogative. But we don’t believe she believes it. Not really.

But beyond just that: The actual WDIV/Detroit News/Glengariff Group Inc data paints an even more favorable pic than Maggie’s purposely limited presentation would have one believe.

By a margin of 38.5%-50.2%, Michigan voters oppose allowing gay men and lesbians to get married. 54.9% of Democratic voters support gay marriage, 42.3% of Independent voters support gay marriage, but only 19.6% of Republican voters support gay marriage.

But when asked if they support granting the alternative of civil unions to provide the legal benefits of marriage while still preserving the word marriage as something between a man and a woman, voters support civil unions by a margin of 55.7%-36.5%.

63.7% of Democratic voters, 61.1% of Independent voters and even 44.3% of Republican voters said they could support civil unions for gay and lesbian Michiganders.

There is a strongly difference by gender specifically on the issue of marriage.

Men oppose marriage by a margin of 33.0%-56.7% But women SUPPORT same sex marriage by the narrow margin of 44.0%-42.6% Men support civil unions by a margin of 55.7%-36.7%. Women support civil unions by a nearly identical margin of 55.7%-36.3%. Men appear to have a strong reaction to the word ‘marriage’ that women do not share.

Michigan Voters Survey (pdf) [Glengariff]

Funny that Maggie completely overlooks civil unions (which, at the end of the day, NOM almost ways disfavors, even if they’re less forthright about it).

But beyond even that data, there’s one more important piece that Maggie fails to mention. In the marriage question itself, there is a pretty high “don’t know/refused” percentage, and an undeniably small opposition figure:

Screen Shot 2011-01-07 At 9.58.54 Am

11.3% didn’t answer? Hmm. There are multiple reasons why folks might fall into that category. But most opponents of marriage equality are pretty darn forthright about it. We’d def. go out on a limb and say a larger portion of that 11.3% will move our way over the years, especially if we just keep telling our stories.

And finally: The fact that only 50.2% in total voiced opposition, and only 42% of them strongly? That’s pretty soft for someone like Maggie, who relies on a motivated opposition to turn out on election day. No wonder she ignored it.

If this poll is truly representative and a question of marriage inequality again makes its way to Michigan’s polls, will Maggie able to hold onto/turn out enough of this 50.2%, or to convert enough of the undecideds to put her fight above the bare majority threshold? Perhaps. But tick, tick, Maggie — 18th birthday party invites go out every day.

**

*NOTE: An earlier version of this post suggested that Michigan did not yet have a constitutional ban. In fact, the state did pass a ban in 2004 — One that banned both marriage and civil unions.

Interestingly, they did so by 58.6%, which would seem to further highlight that momentum is on our side, not Maggie’s.




Good As You

—  admin

Michigan Newspaper Runs Anti-Gay Ad

Antigayad
You may remember that, several months ago, Family Research Council and Request Foods took out a full-page ad in Michigan's Holland Sentinel. The ad was a list of lies about gays and lesbians. Looks like another homophobic ad has made its way onto the pages of the newspaper.

The half-page ad features a picture of two men in a casual embrace along with anti-gay biblical quotes and the phrase “How sad when God’s original design is twisted.” It was put together and paid for by a Pastor named Earl Shetler, who also runs a tree removal service in Saugatuck, Michigan, a popular gay and lesbain resort town.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Michigan: openly gay student defends teacher at school board meeting (video)

Ann Arbor student Graeme Taylor stood up at a school board meeting in support of his teacher, Jay McDowell, who had disciplined two students for making anti-gay remarks in class. McDowell, in turn was disciplined on October 20 for that action, which spurred 14-year-old Taylor to speak out publicly. Via Towleroad:

During his speech in support of his teacher, Taylor revealed his problems with bullying and a suicide attempt at the age of 9.


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Graham Taylor, 14, Is Sticking Up For Michigan High School Teacher Jay McDowell. And He Is The Awesome

You aren't the only ones outraged Michigan high school teacher Jay McDowell was suspended for a day without pay after trying to make his classroom a place for acceptance rather than intolerance. So too is 14-year-old Ann Arbor student Graham Taylor, who told Howell High School's board we need more McDowells, not fewer. This boy is amazing.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

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Gay Teen Commits Suicide on Michigan Campus

Corey Jackson, a 19-year-old student at Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan, was found dead in a wooded area of campus on Tuesday, the Michigan Messenger reports:

Jackson Police and the medical examiner’s office tell the Oakland Press the young gay man hung himself.

The suicide happened Tuesday night, as activists across the nation were preparing for a Facebook driven day of activism to counter a wave of suicides of young gay people across the country that have been tied to bullying. Wednesday was dubbed Spirit Day by the Facebook plans, and was designed to draw attention to the suicides by encouraging people to wear purple.

Police say there is no indication bullying was a factor in Jackson’s suicide.

And while bullying may not be a factor, Melissa Pope, director of the university’s Gender and Sexuality Center said the issue points to larger, hidden epidemic of suicides among LGBT youth: "We must look beyond the term 'bullying' to the overall treatment of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community to begin to grasp the long-standing epidemic of suicide among our LGBT youth.While the national press has picked up this issue over the last two months, we have been losing high numbers of LGBT youth to suicide for decades…"

Watch a report from MyFox Detroit, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

University Of Michigan Student President Talks About Attacks From Andrew Shirvell

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright