In the News

Same-Sex Marriages Proceed in Parts of Alabama, Amid Judicial Chaos
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/9/15
Amid conflicting signals from federal courts and the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, some Alabama counties began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday in a legal showdown with echoes of the battles over desegregation in the 1960s.

In major county seats like Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville, same-sex couples lined up outside courthouses as they opened and emerged smiling after being wed.

At the Jefferson County Courthouse here, Judge Michael G. Graffeo of C


Justice Thomas’s Dissent Hints of Supreme Court’s Intentions on Same-Sex Marriage
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/9/15
The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to delay same-sex marriage in Alabama offered the strongest signal yet that gay rights advocates are likely to prevail in coming months in their decades-long quest to establish a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

The court's decision came with a blistering dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas, who criticized his fellow justices for looking “the other way” as another federal court pushes aside state laws, rather than taking the cus


Same-Sex Interfaith Couples Face Roadblock to Marriage in Judaism
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/31/15
When Julia Spiegelman and Erina Donnelly, two teachers who met as undergraduates at Bryn Mawr, became engaged, they were looking forward to planning a wedding that included elements from both of their religions.

Ms. Spiegelman grew up attending a Reform synagogue in Andover, Mass., and Ms. Donnelly was raised a Roman Catholic.

The two women attend Jewish and Catholic services together, and they had hoped to find marriage officiants from both religions, which they did not think would be dif


Chile: Lawmakers Approve Civil Unions for Gay or Heterosexual Couples
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/28/15
After nearly four years of legislative wrangling, legislators in socially conservative Chile approved civil unions on Wednesday for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples. The bill will give many of the legal rights afforded to married couples to an estimated two million Chileans. Most of those expected to benefit from the civil unions are heterosexual couples, though the move is also seen as a big step forward for gay rights. The bill now heads to President Michelle Bachelet to be signed i

Same-Sex Marriage Foes Dig In on the State Level
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/28/15
As the nation waits for the Supreme Court to decide whether same-sex unions should be legal nationwide, another, more mundane front has opened in the marriage wars: the offices of the state and local officials who perform civil marriages and issue licenses.

Republican state legislators in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have introduced bills this year that would prohibit state or local government employees from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, despite federal court rulings declari


Mormons Seek Golden Mean Between Gay Rights and Religious Beliefs
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/27/15
Mormon leaders tried to stake out a middle ground in the escalating battle between gay rights and religious freedom on Tuesday, demanding that both ideas, together, be treated as a national priority.

At a rare news conference at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints forcefully condemned discrimination against gays and vowed to support nondiscrimination laws — like one proposed in Utah — to protect people from being denied jobs or hou


A Gay Couple Awaits the Justices’ Decision
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/23/15
It may have been a coincidence that the United States Supreme Court announced its intent to hear another same-sex marriage case the same week as the holiday honoring Martin Luther King’s Birthday, but it was hard not to notice the connection. The gay marriage question is one that has civil rights at its center, after all.

But the ruling will also have enormous financial consequences. The ability to marry hits nearly every part of the wallet, from insurance to estate planning. People who have


Supreme Court to Decide Marriage Rights for Gay Couples Nationwide
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/16/15
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether all 50 states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, positioning it to resolve one of the great civil rights questions in a generation before its current term ends in June.

The decision came just months after the justices ducked the issue, refusing in October to hear appeals from rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five states. That decision, which was considered a major surprise, delivered a tacit victory for gay rights, immediatel


Same-Sex Pairs in Florida Say Jubilant ‘I Dos’
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/6/15
Wedding ceremonies began and ended in the middle of the night in Fort Lauderdale and Key West, and hundreds of other marriages played out under blue skies in Miami Beach and Orlando, as Florida completed its long, arduous journey Tuesday to become the 36th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Along the way, the third-largest state, the home of antigay crusades in the 1970s, became a vivid symbol of the extraordinary changes that have shifted the landscape of marriage in America. Only six year


Atlanta Ousts Fire Chief Who Has Antigay Views
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/6/15
Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday that he had fired the chief of the city’s Fire Rescue Department, Kelvin Cochran, after Mr. Cochran gave workers a religious book he wrote containing passages that condemn homosexuality.

Mr. Reed had suspended Mr. Cochran for a month without pay in November, opening an investigation into whether Mr. Cochran’s authorship and distribution of the book to workers violated the city’s nondiscrimination policies. That move sparked a debate about religious liberty a