An assistant Texas solicitor general told a federal judge Wednesday that same-sex marriage is a "more recent innovation than Facebook." The comment was part of a legal argument defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage, which is currently being challenged by two same-sex couples in federal court.
"These questions are political questions, not constitutional rights," Assistant Texas Solicitor General Mike Murphy argued. "Same-sex marriage is not included in the fundamental right of marriage … it is a more recent innovation than Facebook."
Murphy told U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia that if he chooses to lift the state's gay marriage ban, he will be embroiling himself in the current political debate waging in several other U.S. states. Murphy also argued that the issue of same-sex marriage should ultimately be left to the voters, and that traditional marriage is the ideal situation for which to raise children. more >>
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, despite its own ban on the practice, arguing that discriminating against a class of people for religious or traditional reasons is unconstitutional. Conservative groups have called the decision a "deep betrayal."
"In the end, the Court concludes that Kentucky's denial of recognition for valid same-sex marriages violates the United States Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law, even under the most deferential standard of review," said U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in his 23-page ruling.
"Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition, it must do so constitutionally. It cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it." more >>
Lutherans, Mormons, Catholics, evangelicals and Southern Baptists have joined together in fighting the legalization of same-sex marriage by submitting a recent court brief to the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is currently considering the constitutionality of gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah.
The 42-page brief was filed Monday by lawyers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and was signed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the National Association of Evangelicals.
The brief focuses on the religious groups' shared belief that a husband and a wife serve as the ideal situation in which to raise a child. "Our respective religious doctrines hold that marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children," the brief reads. "We believe that children, families, society, and our nation thrive best when husband-wife marriage is upheld and strengthened as a cherished, primary social institution." more >>
Nevada officials have dropped their defense of the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, saying a recent legal decision would no longer make their arguments "sustainable" in court.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto released a statement Monday saying that the state would no longer defend the ban in a current case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Masto, a Democrat, said a recent, unrelated ruling in the 9th Circuit panel has made the state's legal arguments unviable. The panel ruled that a trial cannot pick and choose jurors based solely on their sexual orientation. The ruling elevated gay and lesbian jurors to the same protected class previously reserved for racial minorities and women.
A former employee of a California-based catering business has sued the company alleging abuse at one of their Oregon facilities by being referred to in gender specific terms.
Valeria Jones alleged that coworkers at Bon Appétit Management of Palo Alto frequently used words like "miss," "lady" and similar terms instead of more gender-neutral phrases.
Filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Jones, who lives in Oregon, is being represented by Portland attorney Donel Courtney. more >>
Planned Parenthood is set to pay $2 million to the family of a botched abortion victim in a wrongful death settlement, a circuit court in Illinois decided late last week. Pro-lifers say the punishment does not go far enough.
"The fact that Planned Parenthood has been allowed to merely pay 'hush money' to the victim's family without any further consequences is a slap in the face to every woman who walks through the doors of the nation's largest abortion provider," said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society.
The law group had filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation in February 2013 to investigate the death of 24-year-old Tonya Reaves, who died following a late-term abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago on July 20, 2012. more >>