Americans for Marriage Equality

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Welcome to A.M. Equality - December 19, 2014

FAVORITE MOMENTS OF 2014 -- VIVIAN AND NONIE TIE THE KNOT: As 2014 comes to a close, the Human Rights Campaign’s blog is taking a look at some of the best stories from the year. Today’s post: Vivian and Nonie marry in Iowa after being together for 72 years. The Rev. Linda Hunsaker, who officiated the ceremony, told the Des Moines Register, “When you know someone, have a relationship with them, which is what God wants, you want the best for them.” Make sure you keep up with HRC’s countdown to 2015 here:

UTAH PLAINTIFFS CELEBRATE A YEAR SINCE VICTORY IN COURT: A year ago tomorrow, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled Utah’s marriage ban unconstitutional, allowing couples in the state to immediately wed. The ruling was the first to affirm gay couples’ right to marry based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor which struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the case quickly became a “roadmap” for other judges to rule in favor of marriage equality, and a year later, 35 states and the District of Columbia allow gays and lesbians to marry. Read more about the couples at the center of the landmark decision here, via the Tribune:

JACK ANTONOFF TALKS EQUALITY WITH LARRY KING: Jack Antonoff of the band fun. -- and Taylor Swift BFF -- talked to Larry King about his fierce advocacy for LGBT rights, and how it has shaped his worldview. Antonoff joined our Americans for Marriage Equality campaign in 2012, and has since been a vocal ally of the LGBT community. In the interview he tells King of his support of LGBT issues, “It's one of the only issues that I can think of right now that's entirely black and white. I don't see any other side to it. I see no argument.” Watch the full interview, here:


-ACLU OF FLORIDA ASKING JUSTICE THOMAS TO NOT EXTEND STAY: Yesterday, the ACLU of Florida filed a response with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, asking him to not extend a stay on a ruling which found Florida’s marriage ban unconstitutional. Earlier this week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asked Thomas to extend the stay past its expiration date of January 5th, until further clarity could come from a higher court. In its brief, the ACLU of Florida writes, “The [plaintiffs] and other same-sex couples throughout Florida are subjected to irreparable harm every day they are forced to live without the security and protections that marriage provides. While this case remains pending on appeal, children will be born, spouses and partners will get sick, and some will die. The substantive legal protections afforded by marriage can be critical, if not life-changing, during such major life events and personal crises.” More here, via the Miami Herald:

-HAWAII SUPREME COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS AGAINST MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The Hawaii state Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit filed challenging Hawaii’s existing law, which allows marriages between same-sex couples. The lawsuit was brought by Republican State Rep. Bob McDermott, who has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality in Hawaii for years. Hawaii Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha argued in favor of preserving the law, saying. “The Marriage Equality Act didn’t take anything away from these plaintiffs. The law doesn’t do anything more than provide rights to more people.” The court has not yet indicated when it will release a decision in the case.

-GEORGIA VOICE NAMES MARRIAGE EQUALITY PLAINTIFFS PEOPLE OF YEAR: The Georgia Voice has named the nine named plaintiffs fighting against Georgia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples as its 2014 People of the Year. Merritt McAlister, a senior associate with the law firm King and Spalding says of the plaintiffs, “The Inniss plaintiffs reflect the richness and fullness of our community, and their stories underscore the variety of ways in which not being able to marry in Georgia imposes real costs on our lives.” Several of the plaintiffs are “devoted parents” according to the Voice, and just want to have their unions recognized by their home state. Read the full article, and short bios about each of the Inniss plaintiffs here:

-DALLAS COUNTY CONSIDERING MORE LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR GAYS: Dallas County is slowly but surely becoming more accommodating when it comes to LGBT families who work for the city of Dallas. Now, the city is pushing to allow gays to claim spouses under the federal Family Medical Leave Act, even though the state of Texas does not allow gays and lesbians to marry. Under FMLA, “employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a parent, spouse or child. People with same-sex partners have been excluded from caring for their spouses under the act, although many employers have extended the benefit to them,” according to the Dallas Voice. Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia has led this charge, and is urging city officials to approve this policy after the mandatory 30-day comment period. “All of the commissioners are delighted to see a policy that will affect all of the employees of Dallas County in a positive way regardless of any status,” Garcia said. “The feeling I got from my colleagues is it’s a step forward.”

-COUPLES IN WISCONSIN DROP LAWSUIT: The ACLU, which was representing gay and lesbian plaintiffs challenging Wisconsin’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, has dropped its lawsuit against the state now that marriage equality is the law of the state. One fewer marriage equality case in the legal landscape!


-POLAND VOTES AGAINST CIVIL UNIONS FOR THIRD TIME: On Wednesday, the Polish parliament voted against “gender-neutral civil unions” for the third time, by a vote of 235-185. According to Gay Star News, “The bill includes a range of benefits which currently are only granted to married heterosexual couples, including protections and responsibilities, inheritance, pension funds, notary, and medical rights. Joint tax benefits and adoption rights are not included in the bill.” Currently, there is no form of legal recognition or protections for same-sex couples.

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