Two same-sex couples in Texas filed a federal lawsuit this week challenging the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2005. The couples argue that the ban unconstitutionally prevents them from enjoying the benefits of married couples, while the state's Attorney General Greg Abbott has vowed to vigorously defend the ban.
Lawyers for the couples said in court documents filed this week in the U.S. District Court in San Antonio that their clients are being unconstitutionally discriminated against by not being allowed to marry in the state, where in 2005, nearly 75 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. The lawsuit specifically argues that the June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act conflicts with state-to-state bans on same-sex marriage.
The two couples, Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss of Plano, are seeking an injunction to halt the state law banning same-sex marriage. "There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society," attorney Barry Chasnoff, who is representing that plaintiffs, said in a statement to the Associated Press. Currently, 16 states in the U.S. have legalized same-sex marriage, the most recent ones being Illinois and Hawaii. more >>
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette, Indiana will be able to continue its practice of chemically-induced abortions after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction on a new state law that would have imposed tighter restrictions on the clinic.
U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled in Indianapolis on Wednesday that because the new law, which was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, has different requirements for the Planned Parenthood in Lafayette than other doctors' practices, it most likely violates the constitution's guarantee to equal protection. The law would have required the abortion clinic in Lafayette to meet surgical facility standards, including having a recovery and a waiting room, for its administering of drugs that induce non-surgical, chemical abortions. The Lafayette clinic is the only one in the state that distributes the chemical abortion-inducing medication.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the group that defended the Planned Parenthood clinic in the law's legal challenge, argued that other licensed doctors with private practices in the state are also able to prescribe the abortion-inducing medication, yet they were not required to abide by the new law. more >>
A Massachusetts superior court judge has rejected a motion for an injunction against a program that would provide taxpayer funds to go to a restoration project for a historic church located in Martha's Vineyard.
Judge Richard T. Moses ruled earlier this week against a preliminary injunction being brought to halt the Community Preservation Coalition's funding of restoration work to Trinity United Methodist Church of Oak Bluffs Campground. "The court finds that there has been an insufficient showing of a likelihood of success on the merits and that granting of the injunction wouldn't be in the public interest," wrote Moses.
Established in 2000 by the Community Preservation Act, the CPC's stated purpose is to help Massachusetts communities preserve various sites and locales as well as help with growth. "CPA is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities," reads the "Overview" entry on its website. more >>
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled on Wednesday against the Christian owners of a bed and breakfast hotel who refused to allow a gay couple to stay.
"Sexual orientation is a core component of a person's identity which requires fulfillment through relationships with others of the same orientation," explained Lade Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, according to The Guardian.
"Homosexuals can enjoy the same freedom and the same relationships as any others. But we should not under-estimate the continuing legacy of those centuries of discrimination, persecution even, which is still going on in many parts of the world," Hale added in the decision. more >>
A recently released poll regarding the Department of Health and Human Services' "Preventive Services" mandate has found that nearly 60 percent of likely American voters oppose the measure.
In a survey of 801 likely American voters conducted November 18-20, WPA Opinion Research found that 51 percent of respondents "strongly oppose" the HHS mandate, while 8 percent "somewhat oppose" it.
On the other end, 28 percent of respondents "strongly support" the HHS mandate, 7 percent "somewhat support" it, and 6 percent were undecided. more >>
The Episcopal Church has filed a new motion against a diocese that broke away from the liberal mainline denomination over theological differences and the treatment of its bishop.
In a motion delivered Monday against the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, The Episcopal Church named four diocesan leaders including its bishop, the Rev. Mark Lawrence.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), the group within the Diocese that remains with the national denomination, is arguing that the diocesan leadership violated state law. more >>