The Court of Appeals of Arizona ruled on October 11 that as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015), holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and that their marriages must receive equal treatment under the law to those of different-sex couples, the Arizona courts must construe the state’s paternity statute in a gender neutral way so that the same-sex spouse of … <Read More>
Just minutes before Mississippi’s anti-LGBT H.B. 1523 was scheduled to go into effect on July 1, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves filed a 60-page opinion explaining why he was granting a preliminary injunction to the plaintiffs in two cases challenging the measure, which he consolidated for this purpose under the name of Barber v. Bryant.
According to Judge Reeves, H.B. 1523 violates both the 1st Amendment’s Establishment of Religion Clause and the 14th Amendment’s … <Read More>
On April 5 Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law H.B. 1523, a measure that received overwhelming approval in both houses of the state legislature. Titled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act,” the law was clearly intended to encourage businesses and individuals in the state to discriminate against same-sex couples, LGBT people, and even sexually-active unmarried heterosexuals.
Despite the broad wording of its title, the measure does not on its face protect … <Read More>
U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton ruled on January 4 in Schuett v. FedEx Corporation, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 244, 2015 WL 39890 (N.D. Cal.), that the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down Section 3, a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), could be applied retroactively to allow Stacey Schuett, a lesbian widow, to sue her late spouse’s employer for a survivor annuity. Although the judge rejected a … <Read More>
Retired Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the New York Court of Appeals died on January 7, 2016, at age 77. Most accounts of her passing mentioned her dissenting opinion in the case of Hernandez v. Robles, 7 N.Y.3d 338 (2006), the case in which the state’s highest court voted against the claim that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, as one of her most notable opinions, but this was merely the capstone of … <Read More>
Continuing an unbroken string of judicial rejections of free exercise of religion defense to discrimination claims against small businesses that decline goods or services to same-sex couples for their commitment ceremonies or weddings, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling against Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc., and its proprietor, Jack C. Phillips, by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Judge Daniel M. Taubman wrote the opinion for the court, released on … <Read More>
In a speech delivered at an American Bar Association function in Chicago on July 31, 2015, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens had this to say about the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) (from the Justice’s prepared text):
“Probably the most significant opinion announced during the Term was Justice Kennedy’s explanation for holding that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to marry a person of … <Read More>
In light of Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision in Taylor v. Brasuell, 2015 WL 4139470 (D. Idaho, July 9, 2015), seems obvious. Taylor is a 74-year-old veteran of the U.S. Navy. She married Jean Mixner in a religious ceremony in 1995, and then the women married again in a legal civil ceremony in California in 2008. Mixner passed away in 2012 and was cremated. Taylor kept the ashes, intending that when the time … <Read More>
The Supreme Court ruled today that “same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry” and that “there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.” Writing for the Court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Jr., grounded these marital rights in the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that no State may deprive any person of “liberty” without due process of law … <Read More>
With a ruling on same-sex marriage from the United States Supreme Court just days away, the Texas Supreme Court finally acted on June 19, 2015, on a pair of appeals argued nineteen months ago in November 2013, holding in State v. Naylor, 2015 Tex. LEXIS 581, that the state’s attorney general did not have standing to appeal an Austin trial judge’s order granting a judgment “intended to be a substitute for a valid and subsisting … <Read More>