Same-sex marriages will go ahead in New Jersey starting on Monday after the state's Supreme Court ruled against an appeal to block the practice while an appeal is being considered, arguing that there is no reasonable chance the appeal will be successful.
"The State has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today. The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative," wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in the decision.
All seven judges ruled on Friday that Governor Chris Christie's appeal to temporarily block gay marriage has "not shown a reasonable probability it will succeed on the merits," Reuters reported, which means that on Monday the Garden State will become the 14th state in the U.S. to allow the practice. more >>
A federal judge determined this week that a lawsuit filed by a same-sex couple seeking to wed in Michigan in spite of the state's ban on same-sex marriage will go trial. Both the couple who filed the lawsuit and the state were hoping the judge would issue an immediate ruling.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said Wednesday that the trial for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park, Michigan, will commence Feb. 25. In his statement on Wednesday, Friedman pointed to the Supreme Court's June ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that these women were also "entitled to their day in court and they shall have it."
DeBoer and Rowse, both nurses, filed a lawsuit in January 2012 challenging the state's ban on same-sex adoption, as the couple would like to adopt each other's children, Nolan, 4, Jacob, 3, and Ryanne, 3. The couple was later convinced to also challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage, a 2004 constitutional amendment that was passed by 59 percent of voters. more >>
The Constitutional Council in France has ruled that mayors who are not in favor of same-sex marriage will still have to hold such ceremonies despite their beliefs, following the legalization of the practice earlier this year.
"Freedom of conscience is not violated by officiating at weddings," the court said, according to BBC News. It also added that the government did not create an exemption for officials not in favor of same-sex marriage "to assure the law is applied by its agents and to guarantee the proper functioning and neutrality of public service."
France became the 14th country in the world to officially legalize same-sex marriage in May after President Francois Hollande signed the Assembly-approved bill into law, which also allowed gay couples to adopt children. The law has been met with heavy opposition from supporters of traditional marriage, who have staged a number of mass rallies drawing hundreds of thousands of people. more >>
A woman is suing a national Christian ministry nonprofit group for wrongful termination, alleging she was fired from her position in 2011 because she was going through a divorce. The woman, Alyce Conlon, claims that two men at the ministry were allowed to keep their jobs after divorces and subsequent remarriages, but she was fired.
Conlon filed a federal lawsuit for wrongful termination in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids late last week, alleging that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship [IVCF] wrongfully terminated her after she told her supervisors she and her husband were going through the process of divorce. Conlon had reportedly worked for the nonprofit since the late 1980's, and worked as a spiritual director for the ministry group at its Grand Rapids, Mich. office from 2004 to 2011, where she was then let go. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is a nonprofit national Christian ministry group that establishes student-led ministries at hundreds of college campuses across the country.
According to the lawsuit, Conlon alleges that in 2011, she told one of her supervisors that she and her husband were planning on getting a divorce. She was then reportedly put on paid leave so she could try to reconcile her marriage. During this time, the lawsuit claims that the nonprofit's supervisors became "heavily involved" in Conlon's marriage, including contacting her estranged husband without the plaintiff's knowledge and suggesting she go to the marriage counselor of her husband's choice. more >>
A rogue clerk in North Carolina accepted marriage license requests from over 10 same-sex couples Tuesday morning in spite of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. This decision comes as the state's Attorney General Roy Cooper announced over the weekend that he personally supports same-sex marriage, but will still defend the state's ban against such marriages in a lawsuit.
On Tuesday morning, Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger accepted the request for a marriage license submitted by Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory, who have reportedly been same-sex partners for 25 years. After accepting the initial license, Reisinger reportedly went on to accept 10 more throughout Tuesday. The event was organized on behalf of the Campaign for Southern Equality to have same-sex marriage legalized in the state.
Reisinger stopped short of signing and issuing the marriage licenses at Tuesday's event, saying that he would like to formally ask Attorney General Roy Cooper to validate the marriage licenses. A call by The Associated Press to Cooper's office found that Cooper will not approve the licenses. more >>
The state of Utah defended its ban on same-sex marriage in court on Friday, arguing that the 2004 constitutional amendment recognizing only traditional marriage proves the state's interest in promoting "responsible procreation." The state also argued that its "child-centric" culture grants it the right to assert the "age-old and still predominant" traditional definition of marriage.
The comments were made Friday by lawyers for the state to U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby of Salt Lake City. The state is requesting that Shelby grant a summary judgment in the federal court case Kitchen vs. Herbert, in which three same-sex couples are charging that the state's 2004, voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs, including Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, argue that the ban, known as Amendment 3, practices discrimination against same-sex couples in the state as it denies what they see to be the basic, fundamental right to marriage. The state's Amendment 3 not only constitutionally bans same-sex marriage in the state but also refuses to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Supporters of the Amendment have argued it does not discriminate against anyone as all people have the "right to marry," but simply that marriage, by definition, is a union between one man and one woman. more >>