The Honorable Callie V.S. Granade, United States District Judge for the Southern Division of the Southern District of Alabama for the United States District Court, ruled on Friday that Alabama’s voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violated the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. No stay was issued, so county clerks should be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on their next business day. Naturally, the Republican Attorney General Luther Strange has had his office issue a statement voicing his “disappointment” with the ruling, and their plans to request a stay. The Governor, Republican Robert Bentley, also issued a “disappointment” statement. Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, Republican Mike Hubbard, was exceptionally blatant with his statement, “the Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live.” (all you non-Christians are just out of luck in Hubbard’s Alabama)
Despite the increasing momentum of court decisions striking down gay-marriage bans across the country (with the only exception being in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals), GOP and conservative minions across the country continue trying to throw monkey wrenches into the machinery.
In Oklahoma, state representative Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) has introduced three anti-gay bills. HB 1597 would allow any business to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals:
No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.
HB 1598 prevent Oklahoma from banning the discredited “gay conversion therapy” for juveniles, as California has done:
The people of this state have the right to seek and obtain counseling or conversion therapy from a mental health provider in order to control or end any unwanted sexual attraction, and no state agency shall infringe upon that right. Parents may obtain such counseling or therapy for their children under eighteen (18) years of age without interference by the state.
HB 1599 prevents the state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples:
No taxpayer funds or governmental salaries shall be paid for any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state. No taxes or public funds of this state shall be spent enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.
If these bills pass and are signed by Oklahoma’s Governor, they will be immediately challenged in court. Don’t expect them to survive, especially 1597 and 1599.
In Virginia, the Senate Education and Health Committee tabled a bill to ban gay conversion therapy for minors. In the House of Delegates, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Subcommittee took no vote on their version, effectively killing the legislation.
In Colorado, intent on jumping onto the bakery bandwagon, Bill Jack, of WorldView Academy, is suing Denver’s Azucar Bakery for religious discrimination. Jack ordered two cakes in the shape of a Bible, and wanted “God hates gays” on one, and a drawing of two men holding hands, with an X across them, on the other. Baker Marjorie Silva declined. She offered to provide the cakes blank, and Mr. Jack could decorate them himself. Silva even offered to provide the materials and tools required for him to do so. He refused, and has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, claiming religious discrimination. Experts in Colorado law say Jack has no grounds for his complaint.
Also in Colorado, the newly empowered GOP killed a ‘housekeeping’ bill that would have prevented divorcing LGBTQ couples from having to file twice if they had been issued a civil union and then had converted that to a marriage when the law changed. By combining the process for dissolving marriages and civil unions, the bill would have saved time, money, and paperwork for everyone involved. The GOP couldn’t let that happen, since it could be seen as being gay-friendly. Can’t have that in today’s GOP.
In Florida, after courts ruled county clerks must issue licenses to same-sex couples, some counties halted courthouse marriage ceremonies for everyone, in order to avoid allowing gay couples to have wedding ceremonies conducted at the county offices.
In Ohio, University of Ohio Columbus undergraduate student Cole Ledford was called a fag and punched in the face after kissing his boyfriend in a parking lot. Though it happened last November, it highlights the continuing danger from anti-gay individuals LGBTQ people face simply being themselves. After the incident, Cole Tweeted this to his attacker:
To the guy who punched me tonight for kissing my boyfriend,
I’m sorry that you called me fag. I’m sorry you hit me for no reason.
I’m sorry that whatever insecurities you have don’t allow you to accept others for who they are. I’m sorry that I threaten you.”
I’m NOT sorry I’m gay. I’m proud to be this way. I’m proud to be confident enough to love who I love and to love me.
I’m proud to have friends and family that love me regardless of me. Honestly, I’m not sorry.
The Supreme Court has finally taken up the marriage equality issue, and will be hearing a case this session. Most observers believe the Court will overturn the 6th Circuit, and rule that LGBTQ individuals have the right to be married to the person of their choice, regardless of sex.
Former Arkansas Governor and potential GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is suggesting states simply ignore the Supreme Court if they rule in favor of marriage equality.
We can expect more attempts to thwart marriage equality from many sectors of the GOP and religious extremists, but they will eventually fail. They must know this, so their attempts can’t be seen as principled opposition, but instead simply as anti-gay animus, and political posturing. On Huckabee’s part, it’s simply an attempt to sell his book, as he knows he’ll never be President. The sad part is so many on the right will be right there, cheering him, and them on.