Two MORE States!! Unbelievable! Incredible!

TUESDAY
So as the states began to one by one strike down same-sex marriage bans, and as I spoke to friends, co-workers and acquaintances said something I knew wasn’t’ true. They seemed to think it would take about ten years before all our states allowed same-sex marriage.

I knew they were wrong. I knew it. I said two years. And if anything I figured our President would do what a lot of presidents have done before him and that is shove certain pet projects through right at the end when nothing can happen do him. And Obama is a friend to the GLBT community.

And now look! OMG! Two more states have struck down same-sex bans. And I was just commenting earlier about my disappointment in Idaho!

Let freedom ring!

Gay Marriage Bans in Idaho, Nevada Struck Down

By Paul Elias Associated Press
Original Article Here

A federal appeals court declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage in 30 other states.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down Idaho and Nevada’s bans on gay marriage, ruling they violated equal protection rights.

The court also has jurisdiction in three other states that still have marriage bans in place: Alaska, Arizona and Montana. Lawsuits challenging bans in those states are still pending in lower courts and have not reached the 9th Circuit.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel that laws that treat people differently based on sexual orientation are unconstitutional unless there is a compelling government interest. He wrote that neither Idaho nor Nevada offered any legitimate reasons to discriminate against gay couples.

“Idaho and Nevada’s marriage laws, by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages celebrated elsewhere, impose profound legal, financial, social and psychic harms on numerous citizens of those states,” Reinhardt wrote.

He rejected the argument that same-sex marriages will devalue traditional marriage, leading to more out-of-wedlock births.

“This proposition reflects a crass and callous view of parental love and the parental bond that is not worthy of response,” Reinhardt wrote. “We reject it out of hand.”

Technically, the court upheld a trial judge’s ruling striking down Idaho’s ban and reversed a lower court ruling upholding Nevada’s ban.

Reinhardt ordered a “prompt issuance” of a lower court order to let same-sex couples wed In Nevada.

“We are absolutely delighted that wedding bells will finally be ringing for same-sex couples in Nevada,” said Tara Borelli, the lawyer who argued the Nevada case for Lambda Legal.

Monte Neil Stewart, the Idaho-based attorney who argued the case for Nevada on behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, declined to say whether he’ll challenge the order for the prompt start to same-sex marriages. Nevada’s governor and attorney general dropped out of the appeal earlier this year.

Reinhardt didn’t say when marriages should start in Idaho.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s spokesman Todd Dvorak said his office believes the 9th Circuit’s stay on marriages pending a U.S. Supreme Court appeal remains in place.

“We are reviewing the decision by the court and assessing all of Idaho’s legal options,” Wasden said in a prepared statement.

Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers sued Idaho last year to compel Idaho to recognize their 2008 marriage in California. Three other couples also joined the lawsuit to invalidate Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban.

“This is a super sweet victory,” said Latta, who said the ruling came much sooner than she expected.

“Taxes are easier, real estate is easier, parenting is easier, end of life planning is easier,” Latta said. “We no longer have to hire an attorney. We have a valid marriage license.”

State and federal court judges have been striking down bans at a rapid rate since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year. The 9th Circuit ruling comes a day after the nation’s top court effectively legalized gay marriage in 11 more states, for a total of 30, when it rejected a set of appeals.

On Monday, the nation’s top court unexpectedly rejected appeals from five states seeking to preserve their bans. The decision cleared the way for a dramatic expansion of gay marriage in the United States and might have signaled that it’s only a matter of time before same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states.

The appeals court panel did not rule on a similar case in Hawaii, which legalized gay marriage in December. Hawaii’s governor had asked the court to toss out a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban and an appeal to the 9th Circuit filed before Hawaii lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage.

All three judges on the panel were appointed by Democratic presidents. President Bill Clinton appointed Judges Marsha Berzon and Ronald Gould. President Jimmy Carter appointed Judge Stephen Reinhardt.

The court also has jurisdiction in three other states that still have marriage bans in place: Alaska, Arizona and Montana. Lawsuits challenging bans in those states are still pending in lower courts and have not reached the 9th Circuit.

More gay marriage bans fall in Idaho and Nevada

by Richard Wolf, USA Today
Original Article Here

A federal appeals court on Tuesday added two — and potentially five — states to the list of those where gays and lesbians can get married. The decision likely will raise the number of states with same-sex marriage to 35.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel, struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. The court has jurisdiction over three other states with bans still in place: Alaska, Arizona and Montana. Those bans now are likely to fall as well.

The court’s action came just a day after the Supreme Court refused to reconsider similar appeals of court decisions striking down gay marriage bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana and Virginia.

The high court’s action on Monday immediately spread gay marriage to those five states, bringing to 24 the number with legal same-sex marriage. Because the appeals courts that had struck down those five bans also have jurisdiction over Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, the number already was projected to jump to 30 states.

?”All across the country now, couples who love each other are able to join in that most meaningful of unions,” President Obama said Tuesday at a fundraiser in New York City.

More states could be on the way — unless the next appeals court ruling goes the other way, which is possible. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee in early August but has not issued its decision. That three-judge panel included two judges appointed by President George W. Bush.

The 9th Circuit’s decision in Idaho’s case can be appealed, but with the Supreme Court’s action Monday, the result does not appear to be in doubt. The Nevada case will not be appealed.

“Idaho and Nevada’s marriage laws, by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages celebrated elsewhere, impose profound legal, financial, social and psychic harms on numerous citizens of those states,” the court said. “These harms are not inflicted on opposite-sex couples.”

“The lessons of our constitutional history are clear: Inclusion strengthens, rather than weakens, our most important institutions,” the opinion by Judge Stephen Reinhardt said. “When we integrated our schools, education improved. When we opened our juries to women, our democracy became more vital. When we allowed lesbian and gay soldiers to serve openly in uniform, it enhanced unit cohesion. When same-sex couples are married, just as when opposite-sex couples are married, they serve as models of loving commitment to all.”

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