Another Red State Nail in the Coffin for Gay Marriage Bans

This doesn’t challenge the Kentucky ban directly, but it clearly prepare the way. In striking down the Kentucky prohibition on recognizing same – sex marriages from other states, the reasons given by Judge Heyburn could be also be used to challenge the ban itself:

  • The ban violates the US Constitution guarantee of equal protection
  • Tradition does not justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties

Ky. ban on gay marriages from other states struck down

A federal judge Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

Heyburn said “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act, Heyburn struck down the portion of Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment that said “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.

In a 23-page ruling, Heyburn said Kentucky’s sole justification for the the amendment was that was it was “rationally related to the legitimate government interest of preserving the state’s institution of traditional marriage.”

But Heyburn noted that over the past 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to allow mere tradition to justify marriage statutes that violate individual liberties, such as the ban on interracial marriages that was once the law in Virginia, Kentucky and other states.

via USA Today

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New Ways Ministry Welcomes Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage Equality

The following is a statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry on the Supreme Court’s decisions about marriage equality:

The Supreme Court’s decisions today that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and that marriage equality should be revived in California feel like “justice rolling down like a river,” in the words of the prophet Amos. While Catholic bishops will not welcome these decisions, the people in the pews of Catholic parishes across the country are ecstatic that these major injustices against their lesbian and gay friends and family members are now dissolved.  We thank the Court for these decisions, and we give thanks to God for answering our many prayers seeking justice.

Catholic lay people across the U.S. and in California have worked hard to support their deeply held Catholic belief that equal treatment by our government’s laws should be extended to lesbian and gay couples who want to marry.  Catholics hold this belief because of their faith, not in spite of it.  Our Catholic social justice tradition motivates us to work for strong families and expansive social protections, and these can only be achieved when all families are treated fairly and equally under the law.

These Supreme Court decisions are definitely not the final word on marriage equality in our nation.  Much work remains to be done.  And Catholics will be part of that work in state and national campaigns to facilitate marriage equality and to end other injustices against LGBT people such as discriminatory immigration policies.   Catholics will stand with those of other faiths to show that religious people do not support discrimination.

Catholics also have work to do within our own church.  We are ashamed and dismayed that our bishops are often the most vocal opponents of marriage equality.  Their statements often reveal a stunning ignorance of lesbian and gay lives and a lack of compassion that is unbecoming of faith leaders.  Catholics pray that today’s Supreme Court decisions will open our bishops’ eyes so that they will at least meet and dialogue with lesbian and gay Catholics and their families.  If the bishops do this, they will witness firsthand how the Gospel of justice and love which they preach is practiced by those they consider the least in their flocks.

New Ways Ministry is a 36-year old national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for LGBT people and the Catholic Church.  For more information visit

via  Bondings 2.0.

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Democrats’ preliminary platform includes support for gay marriage – Nation – The Boston Globe

Support for gay marriage is part of the Democratic Party’s preliminary platform for the fall, Representative Barney Frank’s office confirmed to the Globe on Monday.

Democrats’ preliminary platform includes support for gay marriage - Nation - The Boston Globe

Democrats’ platform drafting committee, which includes Frank, met in Minneapolis over the weekend and agreed on draft language that would put a major political party officially onboard with legal same-sex marriage for the first time in US history.

The language will be considered by the full Democratic platform committee, which meets in Detroit between Aug. 10 and 12. If approved, an endorsement of same-sex marriage will be put to a vote at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September.

Democrats’ preliminary backing of same-sex marriage was reported first by the Washington Blade, a newspaper focused on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Citing an unnamed Democratic source, the paper reported the tentative platform also includes a rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

“I was part of a unanimous decision to include’’ same-sex marriage, Frank, who wed his longtime partner earlier this month, told the Blade.

The inclusion of a plank supporting gay marriage on the Democratic platform would follow President Obama’s announcement in May that he supports legal same-sex marriage.

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an interview at the White House with “Good Morning America” coanchor Robin Roberts.

The first endorsement by a sitting president marked a milestone on the road toward legal same-sex marriage, and the backing of the Democratic Party would mark another, according to Kara S. Suffredini, executive director of Mass Equality, an LGBT rights group. “We are thrilled that marriage equality has so far made it onto the Democratic platform,” Suffredini said. “This is the start of more equality, not more division.”

Suffredini added that she is not worried about a possible conservative backlash, saying she believes “the days of gay marriage as a divisive vote driver are over.”

– The Boston Globe.

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N.Y. Judge Rules Against Federal Marriage Law

A federal judge in Manhattan joined a growing chorus of judges across the country Wednesday by striking down a key component of a federal law denying benefits to partners in a gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones said the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s efforts to define marriage “intrude upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations.”

“That incursion skirts important principles of federalism and therefore cannot be legitimate, in this court’s view,” the judge said.

Judge Jones said the law fails because it tries to re-examine states’ decisions concerning same-sex marriage. She said such a sweeping review interferes with a system of government that places matters at the core of the domestic relations law exclusively within the province of the states.

-full report at Wall Street Journal

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Gay marriage advocates gain corporate support

Gay marriage advocates have a new and powerful ally in corporate America.

One by one, national corporations like Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and Google are wading into the once-risky business of taking a position supporting gay marriage in states across the country.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which a federal appeals court called unconstitutional on Thursday. Forty-eight companies, including Nike, Time Warner Cable, Aetna, Exelon Corp., and Xerox had signed a brief arguing that the law negatively affected their businesses.

Read more- Politico

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