You are here

same-sex marriage

Citing 'God's Authority' Shaky Ground to Not Obey the Law, Experts Say

When Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, her argument that doing so would violate her religious beliefs highlighted the issue of whether people must obey the law and go against their religious faith.

The Washington Post's Robert Barnes and Katie Zezima report that legal experts said that Davis was on shaky ground in citing her religious beliefs when she was a public official pledged to uphold the law. No U.S. Supreme Court justice signaled disagreement with the decision not to take up Davis' appeal when she stopped issuing marriage licenses to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Richard Garnett, a Notre Dame law professor who specializes in religion and the law, told the Post that appeals to morality are hard for a judge to assess considering same-sex couples feel that it is moral to have access to the right to marriage and religious opponents feel that it is immoral to allow same-sex matrimony.

SCOTUS: Kentucky Clerk Must Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an emergency application by a Kentucky clerk against having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious objections, CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Jeremy Diamond report. The high court refused to stop a lower court ruling while clerk Kim Davis' appeal is pending.

Davis' lawyers argued that her "'conscience forbids her from approving a (same-sex marriage) license -- because the prescribed form mandates that she authorize the proposed union and issue a license bearing her own name and imprimatur."'

Federal Judge: Alabama Judges Must Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

As of this morning, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade has ordered all probate judges in Alabama to issue same-sex marriage licenses, NBC News' Pete Williams and Kathryn Robinson report.

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Friday that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is a constitutional violation, there was back-and-forth in Alabama on whether to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Granade overturned Alabama's ban on same-sex marriages, but Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered probate judges not to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Little Public Awareness with Major Supreme Court Rulings Pending

Even though the Supreme Court is going to issue rulings that could affect health care, capital punishment and same-sex marriage in the next few weeks, Pew Research Center's Meredith Dost reports that polling shows many Americans know very little about the highest court in the country. For example, only one-third knew that there are three women on the court and only 28 percent correctly identified Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote.

Arkansas Supreme Court Rules Current Justices Should Hear Marriage Case

The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that the current lineup of justices should decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage, according to the Associated Press. The court said that Special Justice Robert McCorkindale, a gubernatorial appointee who heard oral arguments, should not decide the case. Instead, the court ruled that, under the state constitution, that Justice Rhonda Wood, who took office in January after being elected, must decide the pending appeal. 

Supreme Court Cautious About Making Sweeping Change to Marriage

The National Law Journal's Tony Mauro reports that the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments this morning about the constitutionality of several states' bans on same-sex marriage, appeared to be cautious about making sweeping change to the definition of matrimony in the United States.

According to Mauro, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has authored several of the court's landmark decisions on LGBT rights and is considered a swing vote on the issue, said, '"The word that keeps coming to me is 'millennia.'" Kennedy, however, also said that there is nobility in marriage that same-sex couples should enjoy. I think that sentiment from Kennedy seems to reflect the kind of rhetoric he deployed in decisions that struck down criminal bans on consensual sodomy and a Colorado state constitutional amendment that barred any extra legal protections for LGBT Coloradans.

According to Mauro, Michigan special attorney general John Bursch asserted that states have a rational basis for keeping marriage to opposite-sex couples in order to encourage children being raised in stable families. But the liberal justices sharply challenged that argument.

Kentucky's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Struck Down Again

Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down by a state judge on the grounds that there is no rational basis for the prohibition, the Lexington Herald-Leader's John Cheves reports: "Judge Thomas Wingate ruled for two Lexington couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Fayette County Clerk in 2013 because Kentucky's constitution was amended by voters to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman."

When a Kentucky federal judge struck down Kentucky's ban, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit restored the ban on appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the issue April 28.

Governor Signs Bill Allowing Court Clerks to Opt Out From Same-Sex Marriage

Utah has enacted a law that allows county clerks to opt out of performing same-sex marriage on religious grounds as long as somene else in their office is willing to perform them, reports Fox 13, the affiliate in Salt Lake City: "The bill was an attempt to address religious objections over same-sex marriage, while also guaranteeing what the courts had ordered when it legalized such unions last year."

Alabama Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage

A new wrinkle has developed in the tussle between the federal judiciary and the Alabama judiciary over the fate of same-sex marriage in that state, the Los Angeles Times' James Queally and Ryan Parker report. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled yesterday that judges should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even though a federal judge has ruled the state's ban on same-sex matrimony is unconstitutional: "Six of the court’s nine justices concurred and a seventh did so in part in the 148-page ruling, published Tuesday night."

Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ordered the state's probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, recused himself from the decision. But the federal judge who declared the ban unconstitutional ordered all of the state's probate judges to comply with her order.

The Alabama Supreme Court cited confusion among the state's probate judges as the reason that licenses should not be issued right now, Queally and Parker report.


Subscribe to RSS - same-sex marriage