In the News

Welcome to Rhode Island, America’s Least Polarized State AUG. 14, 2014
source: The New York Times
posted: 8/13/14
Wonder what Washington might look like if it were less polarized? Just look to Rhode Island. The political scientists Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty analyzed state legislative voting records from 1996 to 2013 and found Rhode Island had the least ideological difference between the typical Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

It’s common for Republican officials in heavily Democratic Northeastern states to be moderates. What makes Rhode Island stand out is the number of conservatives within its D


Court Refuses to Stay Its Decision Striking Down Virginia’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban
source: The New York Times
posted: 8/13/14
The federal appeals court that last month struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex unions refused Wednesday to delay the effects of its ruling. State officials said that unless the United States Supreme Court interceded, Virginia counties could begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples next week.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., voted 2-to-1 in July to uphold a Federal District Court’s ruling in February that Virginia’s ban, which voters approved


Both Sides in Gay Marriage Fight in Utah Agree: Supreme Court Should Hear Case
source: The New York Times
posted: 8/7/14
Lawyers for three couples challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage said Thursday that they would join with their opponents to urge the Supreme Court to hear their case, even though they recently won an appeals court ruling striking down the law.

The unusual move could hasten a final ruling from the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage. It also reflects confidence among proponents of same-sex marriage that the court would rule in their favor.

“Now is the time for the Supreme Court to bring


One Court, Three Judges and Four States With Gay Marriage Cases
source: The New York Times
posted: 8/6/14
The steady march of judicial approval for same-sex marriage over the past year ran into some skepticism here on Wednesday as a three-judge federal appeals panel heard arguments in six same-sex marriage cases from four states.

In three hours of back-and-forth questioning, it appeared that neither side could take victory for granted in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, where the cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee were heard by two judges appointed by Presi


Colorado Clerk Told to Stop Issuing Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/29/14
The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a county clerk in Boulder to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, halting the practice a month after a handful of county clerks had defied a ban in the State Constitution.

The order came as the state’s Supreme Court prepared to hear arguments over whether it should enforce the state’s law against same-sex unions as myriad lawsuits challenging the bans here and across the country churn toward the United States Supreme Court.

It wa


Appeals Panel Rejects Virginia Gay-Marriage Ban
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/28/14
Adding to a year of courtroom victories by proponents of same-sex marriage, a federal appeals court on Monday struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex unions, upholding a lower court’s declaration in February that the state’s restrictive laws were a violation of basic constitutional freedoms.

The 2-to-1 decision by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., followed similar rulings this summer by the circuit court in Denver striking down same-sex mar


Obama Urges Congress to Ban Job Bias Against Gays
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/21/14
President Obama, declaring himself on “the right side of history,” called on Congress on Monday to ban job discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans as he signed an executive order doing so for workers of federal contractors.

In a ceremony at the White House, Mr. Obama noted that in much of the country, companies can fire employees based on their sexual orientation. “That’s wrong,” he said to an audience of supporters. “We’re here to do what we can to make it right — to bend that arc o


Obama to Issue Order Barring Anti-Gay Bias by Contractors
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/18/14
President Obama plans to sign an executive order on Monday that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination by companies that do federal government work, fulfilling a promise to a crucial Democratic constituency, White House officials said on Friday. But the directive will not exempt religious groups, as many of them had sought.

The order will also, for the first time, explicitly protect federal employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity, o


Court Finds Oklahoma Cannot Ban Gay Nuptials
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/18/14
A federal appeals court here on Friday struck down a second conservative-leaning state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that Oklahoma could not deny gay couples their “fundamental right” to wed.

The 2-to-1 decision came less than a month after the same panel of judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit decided that Utah’s ban was unconstitutional. It was another legal victory for gay couples as a range of legal challenges to state bans on same-sex mar


Justices Say Utah Doesn't Have to Recognize Gay Marriages
source: The New York Times
posted: 7/18/14
The Supreme Court on Friday said Utah is not required to recognize the marriages of roughly 1,000 same-sex couples there while state officials pursue appeals.

The court’s order was two sentences long and said only that a lower court’s ruling “is stayed pending the final disposition of the appeal” by the federal appeals court in Denver.

The marriages took place between Dec. 20, when Judge Robert J. Shelby of Federal District Court in Salt Lake City struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriag