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Welcome to A.M. Equality - June 10, 2015


ARKANSAS JUDGE REQUIRES STATE OFFICIALS TO RECOGNIZE MARRIAGES: On Tuesday, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen issued a ruling requiring Arkansas officials to legally recognize same-sex couples who married in 2014. Last May in Wright v. Arkansas, Judge Chris Piazza struck down Arkansas’ marriage ban, allowing more than 500 couples to be married before a stay brought marriage equality to a temporary halt. The latest ruling by Judge Griffen doesn’t affect the stay, and does not allow new couples to receive marriage licenses. It does, however, bring recognition to the hundreds of couples married last year and align the Court with the growing majority of Americans who believe every person should have the right to marry the person they love. HRC Arkansas State Director Kendra R. Johnson said of the ruling, “Virtually every day, we continue to see tremendous signs of progress toward realizing the dream of marriage equality for gay and lesbian Arkansans. While we await a final decision by the United States Supreme Court to resolve the issue of marriage equality nationwide once and for all, Judge Griffen’s ruling demonstrates yet again the unmistakable momentum of LGBT equality in the Natural State."

COURT RULING AGAINST EQUALITY WOULD CAUSE ‘CHAOS’: The Associated Press’ Mark Sherman writes about the “legal chaos” that would ensue if the Supreme Court were to roll back equality and rule against marriage rights for same-sex couples nationwide this month. Sherman says that such a ruling would cause a “confusing mix of lower-court decisions and sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials,” and in many cases, states could halt the issuance of new marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Sherman notes that many of the marriages on the books would probably be safe, but should certain states have tension between various legal rulings, this may not be guaranteed in every case. Cornell University law professor Michael Dorf said about states that are still trying to preserve their marriage bans, “[Those states] can immediately start saying we're going to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples going forward,” a list that includes states like Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to Sherman. Yet, most court-watchers are optimistic that the Supreme Court would not create such a confusing patchwork of laws, or rule against LGBT rights. Tom Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas told Sherman, “Recent history of the past eight months, plus all the rulings of the past 20 years, don't indicate that to us this is going to go against us… It could, but a giant meteor could fall on my head in the next five seconds.” Read the full piece here:

WATCH: TARGET CELEBRATES PRIDE WITH VIDEO, LGBT MANIFESTO: To celebrate Pride Month, Target has released a touching video calling for everyone to “celebrate who we are born to be.” Target, which has been one of the biggest corporate fixtures at Pride parades and festivals for years, is continuing their tradition to honor this year’s Pride month, but reminds people that “pride doesn’t just start and end in June, it is a year-round commitment.” In a statement, Target states, “We’re making our message loud and clear: Target proudly stands with the LGBT community, both as team member and team player through all that we do.” In the video, different scenes from around the world are shown - from LGBT celebrations in Europe, to two fathers with their newborn baby, to images of Human Rights Campaign supporters rallying outside the Supreme Court for marriage equality! Read Target’s statement and watch the video here:

MIKE HUCKABEE DOUBLES DOWN ON TRANSPHOBIC REMARKS ABOUT SHOWERING WITH GIRLS: After a video released last week showed Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee saying he wished he could have pretended to be trans to shower with girls in high school, people were appalled by his transphobia and blatant insensitivity. Instead of apologizing, Huckabee says that he doesn’t regret anything he said - going so far as to say that watching the video makes people see that he’s a “commonsense answer to the insanity that’s going on out there.” He put his foot in his mouth again, saying the world is too “politically correct” and that by offending people with awful “jokes” and anti-trans remarks, he’s showing that he’s a “commonsense candidate for people who did take their brains to work today.” What?!


OUR CRAZY WORLD: A married straight couple fighting marriage equality in Australia have vowed to divorce if LGBT Aussies win the right to marry down under. In a bizarre, homophobic and spite-filled oped for the Canberra CityNews, the couple explained their tangled logic, saying that they will continue living together as a committed husband and wife and raising children together, but will reject state recognition. Ironically, much like committed and loving gay couples today, they will therefore also go without the legal recognition, benefits and protection of marriage.

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