LGBTI global news 24-7

Content about LGBT rights in the United States

July 13, 2014

'I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination'

If a US state's gay marriage ban is argued in front of the Supreme Court, Attorney General Eric Holder promises the Department of Justice will file a friend of the court brief asking for the prohibition to be removed.

Holder was a guest today, 13 July,  on the ABC News show This Week.

July 1, 2014

Judge John G. Heyburn II had already previously ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal

Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down today by a federal judge who has ruled that it is unconstitutional.

The ruling, however, was put on hold pending an expected appeal meaning there will be no marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples for now.

The ruling by US District Judge John G. Heyburn II marks the 23rd consecutive ruling in favor of marriage equality since the US Supreme Court gutted the Defense of Marriage Act last June.

The DOMA ruling means the federal government must recognize legal marriages between those of the same sex.

June 30, 2014

Justices decline to review appeal of law prohibiting licensed counselors and therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender expression

The US Supreme Court today passed on reviewing a case challenging California's new law which makes it illegal for licensed therapists and counselors s to try and change the sexual orientation or gender expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

By declining to get involved, the high court leaves in place a US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling which upheld the ban on what is known as 'conversion therapy,' 'reparative therapy,' 'ex-gay therapy,' or 'sexual orientation change efforts.'

June 26, 2014

'When I saw the first brief where it said "Edie Windsor vs. The United States of America, I was scared to death'

It was one year ago today that the US Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old widow whose lawsuit led to the landmark ruling, reflects on the enormity of being the plaintiff in such a historic case.

Windsor sued because she was required to pay a $350,000 federal estate tax bill. The government did not recognize her marriage to her late wife Thea Spyer and under DOMA, couples cannot file joint federal tax returns or receive survivor benefits if one spouse dies.

June 24, 2014

A new poll has found that a large majority of Americans wrongly believe that it is already illegal to fire someone over their sexuality under federal law despite the Employment Non-Discrimination Act stalling in Congress

A new YouGov/Huffington Post survey has found that 69% of Americans wrongly believe it is already illegal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian under US federal law – while another 18% were unsure.

Only 13% of Americans surveyed in the poll knew that gays and lesbians are not protected from discrimination in employment under federal law when asked.

June 20, 2014

A group of 25 retired Michigan Republicans has joined the challenge to that state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying, arguing that allowing same-sex couples to marry is consistent with Republican values and the spirit of the US Constitution

Michigan’s Republican Attorney General may have a harder time appealing a court decision to strike down his state’s ban on same-sex marriage after 25 retired lawmakers and leading figures from his own party joined the case in support of marriage equality.

June 18, 2014

A federal appeals court will rule on the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage in all four states covered by the US judicial Sixth Circuit in the last step for opponents short of taking the issue to the Supreme Court

A federal appeals court is set to rule on the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage across Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee – deciding to hear all of the cases together.

Those four states make up the judicial Sixth Circuit – one of 13 such legal circuits across the United States.

A three judge panel will hear arguments in five cases from the four states from 6 August and is likely to rule on the issue before year’s end.

May 26, 2014

Every remaining state ban on same-sex marriage in America will be tested in court after lawyers announced they would file a case against North Dakota over its ban on gay and lesbian couples marring

North Dakota will officially join 32 other states in having its ban on same-sex couples being allowed to marry challenged in the courts.

May 20, 2014

Coming one day after Oregon ban was lifted, it's the 14th consecutive marriage equality victory in the US

A federal judge today struck down the gay marriage ban in Pennsylvania, the only northeast US state that did not allow gay marriage or civil unions.

The ruling by US District Judge John E. Jones III comes one day after a similar ban was struck down in the state of Oregon which immediately became the 18th US state with marriage equality.

With no stay issued by Jones, Pennsylvania becomes the 19th state where same-sex marriage is legal.

May 19, 2014

Judge Michael McShane believes 'if we can look for a moment past gender and sexuality, we can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families'

A federal court judge today struck down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage after finding it to be unconstitutional.

The ruling by US District Judge Michael McShane came in the case of Rummell and West v. Kitzhaber.

The judge did not stay his ruling which means same-sex marriages in Oregon can begin immediately and makes it the 18th US state to have marriage equality.

May 19, 2014

Governor Gary Herbert had said the unions were 'on hold' and eligible for state benefits

A federal judge ruled Monday (19 May) that the state of Utah must legally recognize the more than 1,200 same-sex marriages that took place in late December and early January.

The marriages took place during a 17 day period which began when a federal judge struck down the state's same-sex marriage and ended when the US Supreme Court ordered a halt to the marriages while the case in being appealed.

US District Judge Dale A. Kimball ruled that the marriages already performed cannot be made illegal after the fact.

May 13, 2014

Favorable ruling would make Virginia 19th state in US with marriage equality

The attorneys who successfully argued for the overturning of California's Proposition 8 are hoping for a similar outcome after today's arguments before an appeals court in a case challenging Virginia's gay marriage ban.

Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, once opponents in the Supreme Court case that resulted in George W. Bush being sworn in as US president, are once again on the same side in a marriage equality case.

They asked the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to affirm that gay and lesbian couples are due their fundamental right to marry.

May 9, 2014

Ruling comes after county offices close for the week - flood of marriage applicants expected Monday

Writing that 'tradition alone cannot form a rational basis for a law,' a state judge on Friday (9 May) struck down a ban on gay marriage in the state of Arkansas.

Second Division Circuit Judge Chris Piazza did not stay his ruling which means same-sex marriage is immediately legal in the state.

April 28, 2014

A US navy communications specialist has spoken out to The Washington Post about being discharged for transitioning to being male – showing that part of the LGBTI community is still legally barred from serving in the US Armed Forces

Transgender sailor Landon Wilsonhas spoken out about being forcefully discharged by the US Navy after superiors discovered he had transitioned to be a male – showing that some LGBTI people still face legal discrimination in the US Armed Forces past the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

The US Defense Department still retains a policy that was set when being transgender was viewed as a form of mental illness and classes it as a ‘paraphilia.’

April 24, 2014

'Marriage is a fundamental freedom, and freedom means freedom for everyone'

Today, 23 April, a federal court judge heard arguments challenging Oregon's same-sex marriage ban.

The American Civil Liberties Union, and two law firms, brought the case on behalf of two same-sex couples and a local gay rights group called Basic Rights Oregon.

April 17, 2014

Charles Cooper is helping to plan wedding, says his views on gay marriage continue to 'evolve'

Attorney Charles Cooper led the legal fight to have California's same-sex marriage ban Proposition  8 upheld by the courts.

He ultimately lost that fight in the US Supreme Court and now, ironically, finds himself helping to plan the wedding of his lesbian stepdaughter.

Cooper had argued to the nation's highest court that gay unions could undermine marriages between a man and a woman.

April 10, 2014

Three-judge panel will decide whether to uphold ruling that declared ban unconstitutional

A federal court in Colorado heard oral arguments in a case appealing a judge's decision that declared Utah's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit heard arguments for more than an hour on Thursday (10 April).

They will decide whether to uphold a ruling in a case brought by three Utah couples.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who is defending the law, walked across the aisle in the courtroom at one point to meet the three couples seeking to have their marriages recognized by their state.

March 31, 2014

'...If the definition of marriage is no longer based on procreation and the ability to procreate naturally, then what is the purpose in prohibiting marriage between persons of close kinship'

An attorney for court clerks from Virginia filed the first brief in the appeal of a judge's ruling that found the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

David B. Oakley, representing clerks from Norfolk and Prince William County, submitted his arguments, on 28 March, to the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The clerks are appealing the mid-February opinion of Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen.

March 4, 2014

A group of 20 Republicans from the American West lead by two former US senators are joining court battles over same-sex marriage on the side of the LGBTI community

A group of Republicans is filing friend-of-the-court briefs in appeals battles over state bans on same-sex marriage and has already done so in Utah and Oklahoma after courts struck down their state bans.

The group of gay friendly Republicans are being lead by former Senator Alan K Simpson of Wyoming and former Senator Nancy L Kassebaum of Kansas.

February 14, 2014

The ruling, which would make Virginia 18th state in the US to have gay marriage, has been stayed pending appeal

A federal judge has declared Virginia's gay marriage ban to be unconstitutional paving the way for the state to become the 18th in the US with marriage equality.

The decision by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was made public late Thursday (13 February), just hours before Valentine's Day.

But marriages cannot begin right away because the decision has been stayed pending an appeal.

February 4, 2014

Ted Olsen and David Boies tell judge a law that relegates same-sex couples to second-class status cannot stand

Attorneys Ted Olsen and David Boies were back in a federal court on Tuesday (4 January) arguing for the right for same-sex couples in the state to get married - this time in Virginia.

The unlikely legal team, who famously squared-off against each other in a 2000 Supreme Court case that resulted in George W. Bush's presidency, are hoping to repeat their success in California when gay marriage ban Proposition 8 was overturned.

January 14, 2014

But same-sex marriages cannot take place as judge issues stay on his ruling pending appeal

A federal judge in Oklahoma on Tuesday (14 January) ruled that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

But unlike in a Utah case where a similar ruling in December quickly led to more than 1,000 same-sex marriages in that state, the judge has stayed his ruling pending an appeal.

Terence Kern, a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, ruled on a case filed by two lesbian couples back in 2004.

January 13, 2014

 Garden State Equality leader tells Gay Star News: 'It was very vindictive'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would have allowed transgender residents of that state to update the gender marker on their birth certificates to match the gender they identify as.

Because of the veto, transgender citizens will still be required to have undergone surgical procedures in order to obtain the accurate birth certificate.

LGBTI activists in the state are furious.

January 7, 2014

79-year-old military veteran Hal Faulkner has had his discharge record changed from ‘undesirable’ to ‘honorable’ 58 years after he was kicked out of the Marines for being gay

A 79-year-old man who is dying from cancer has finally had his military service record cleared 58 years after he was kicked out of the US Marine Corps when the military learned he was gay.

Faulkner was discharged as an ‘undesirable’ after three years of military service beginning in 1953 during which he served in the Philippines and rose to the rank of sergeant.

Faulkner was diagnosed a few years ago with cancer and asked his relatives to help him secure a dying wish – to have his service record cleared.