Tag Archives: same-sex marriage

Alabama Senate Revives, Passes Bill to Abolish Marriage Licensing

The Alabama Senate passed a revived version of a bill on Tuesday with a 23 to 3 vote that would end marriage licensing in the state in an effort to resolve ongoing disputes over same-sex marriage.

If SB143 were to become law, couples would no longer have to seek permission to marry from a probate office and would instead file their own contracts with the state.

The contract process does include some limitations. The Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey wrote, describing the limits on who would be able to file a marriage contract, “Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 would have to obtain parental permission before marrying, the state would not record a marriage if either party was already married and the parties could not be related by blood or adoption as already stipulated in state law. Under SB143, the state would record same-sex marriages.

Currently, Alabama state law does not force probate judges to sign off on every marriage, and following the Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges which found state-level bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, some officials have been refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming that to do so conflicts with religious beliefs.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: Kim Davis Shows Why County Clerks Should Not Be Involved in Approving Marriages]

Bill sponsor Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range) told WSFA-TV, “The left says well fine let them resign or force them to do it over their own objections. This bill fixes that problem.

He added, “Marriage in our state has changed. We now are required to allow that to occur so our laws have changed now. We need to bring our law in compliance with that.

According to ABC News, bill opponent Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), Alabama’s only openly-gay legislator, said the bill is unnecessary and that probate judges need to “do their job.

[RELATED: TX State Rep. Calls for Special Session to “Divorce Marriage from Government”]

Truth in Media reported last year on a previous effort to pass the bill which failed.

Reason notes that the most recent attempt to pass the bill, which took place last September, failed despite a majority of legislators in both houses voting in favor because the bill was introduced under unusual circumstances during a special budgeting session which requires a two-thirds vote instead of a majority.

Sen. Albritton says that valid Alabama marriage contracts would work the same as marriage licenses in terms of how taxes, disputes, and other legal issues are handled.

Upon passing the Senate, the bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

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DONEGAN: Kim Davis Shows Why County Clerks Should Not Be Involved in Approving Marriages

Earlier this year, Truth in Media reported on an Alabama bill that, if it had passed, would have abolished marriage licensing in the state and replaced the system with a contract process. The purpose behind the bill was to remove probate judges (who have a role in approving Alabama marriages similar to that of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky) from the marriage licensing business in advance of what was expected to be a Supreme Court decision that would legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

Earlier this year in Alabama, some local probate judges had been threatening to discontinue the issuance of marriage licenses in the event of a federal court ruling requiring states to provide for same-sex marriage. Alabama’s marriage licensing abolition bill would have prevented a Kim Davis style shutdown of marriages in rural counties and would have allowed those local officials who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds to stay out of the process. It also would have allowed same-sex couples to certify their marriages without having to engage in county-by-county legal battles.

[RELATED: Huckabee Campaign Blocks Cruz From Media At Kim Davis Rally]

However, opponents claimed that the bill was premature and unnecessary, and politicians voted against it, kicking the can down the road. Now, months later, following the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, some Alabama probate judges are, as predicted, refusing to issue marriage licenses, and Americans nationwide are forced once again to debate the otherwise-settled same-sex marriage issue again and again as more and more local officials follow Kim Davis’ lead and use the authority that states and counties have given them to deny Americans’ legitimate rights to free association.

The Alabama bill would have allowed couples to have a notary or attorney sign off on their marriage instead of an elected official or appointed government bureaucrat, taking politics out of the matter entirely. It also included some provisions preventing a slippery slope beyond same-sex marriage, such as a prohibition on still-married people marrying a second time.

Marriage licensing as a concept was not created to make marriage easier for couples. The primary purpose of any licensing system is to prevent non-licensed individuals from doing a particular activity.

When adults who are not immediate blood relatives voluntarily decide to marry one another, who could possibly be the victim? What interest does the state have in preventing consensual marriage between adults? What is the worst that could happen if we were to let free people decide who they should marry and take away government bureaucrats’ power to deny marriages on the basis of their personal biases?

For a glimpse as to what life without marriage licensing might be like, all we have to do is look to recent history, as marriage licensing is itself a fairly new concept in the U.S. As Ben Swann notes in the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video, nationwide, universal marriage licensing began in the U.S. in the 1920s and was primarily established to consolidate abhorrent state-level licensing schemes that had originally been put in place to prevent interracial marriage (prior to a 1967 Supreme Court ruling in the case Loving v. Virginia that found all anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional).


Considering marriage licensing’s troubling history and its conflict-laden, complicated present, maybe it is time to face the reality that empowering county-level government officials like Kim Davis to deny marriages based on personal biases is a policy that does not serve the public’s interest nor protect individual rights.

States should begin passing bills to get officials like county clerks and judges out of the marriage licensing business before countless Kim Davis types of conflicts begin gumming up court systems across the U.S.

Kentucky Clerk Appeals Contempt Of Court Ruling Over Refusing Marriage Licenses

A Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses has filed a federal appeal against the contempt of court order, stating that her right to due process has been violated.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in June. She was then sued by two gay couples and two straight couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses and she continued to refuse, even after the Supreme Court ruled against her emergency order on Aug. 31, when she cited that the order violated her religious beliefs.

[RELATED: SCOTUS: Kentucky Clerk Must Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses Despite Religious Beliefs]

Bunning ruled that Davis was in contempt of court for defying his order, and he sent her to jail on Thursday, noting that she could be released if she chose to begin issuing marriage licenses.

“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Bunning said. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”

[RELATED: Federal Judge Throws Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis In Jail]

The three-page federal appeal, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, stated that due to the fact that Davis had no previous knowledge that she would be jailed, as the plaintiffs in the case were only seeking a fine, Judge Bunning violated her right to due process.

Mathew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel and one of Davis’ attorneys, called the case “a charade,” and said Bunning appeared to have a “previous intention to incarcerate” Davis, even before the contempt of court motion was heard.

“Ms. Davis had no notice of it. The plaintiffs had no notice of it,” Staver said. “Without proper notice or proper due process, he decided to incarcerate her.”

SCOTUS: Kentucky Clerk Must Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses Despite Religious Beliefs

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a Kentucky county clerk must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The decision followed her request for an emergency order against issuing such licenses, stating that it violated her religious beliefs.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in June. Two gay couples and two straight couples filed a lawsuit against Davis, challenging her policy.

[RELATED: Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Same Sex Marriage In All 50 States]

U.S. District Judge David Bunning issued a preliminary injunction requiring Davis to issue marriage licenses in July, noting that she had to “live up to her responsibilities as the county clerk despite her religious convictions.”

Davis issued an appeal asking the Supreme Court to block a lower court that was directing her to issue the licenses, and stating that she “holds an undisputed sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, only.”

Davis’ lawyers also noted that if forced to approve marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, Davis saw it as a “searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience.”

The SCOTUS ruling did not include a dissent, and consisted of only one sentence: “The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.”

The SCOTUS Blog’s Lyle Denniston noted that the Supreme Court’s order was “not a final ruling on Davis’s argument that her right to freedom of conscience should give her an exemption from having any part in the licensing process that would lead to same-sex marriages,” and that she still have “an appeal on that question now pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.”

While many questioned whether Davis would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday morning that Davis is continuing to deny issuing licenses, despite the Supreme Court ruling.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to at least two couples Tuesday morning. David Ermold reportedly told Davis Tuesday that he and his partner, David Moore, would not “leave until we have a license.” Davis reportedly responded, “Then you’re going to have a long day.”

TX State Rep. Calls for Special Session to “Divorce Marriage from Government”

On Monday, Republican Texas State Representative and State Senate candidate David Simpson issued a news release calling on Governor Greg Abbott to convene a special session of the Texas Legislature to consider a bill that would get government officials out of the marriage licensing business following Friday’s landmark Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage.

In light of the Supreme Court’s actions, I believe that the best way to protect marriage is to divorce marriage from government. I am asking the governor to recall the legislature so that legislation may be immediately considered to remove state and local officials from the process of issuing marriage licenses. In its place, the process of issuing a certificate of marriage will be performed by any willing clergy member consistent with their conscience and in respect for our culture and our heritage. For those who do not wish to have a religious ceremony, any authorized notary may approve a certificate,” said Representative Simpson.

[RELATED: Alabama House Rejects Bill to Abolish Marriage Licensing]

Representative Simpson’s call for a special session comes on the heels of a Sunday statement by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that appeared to encourage county clerks and judges who oppose same-sex marriage to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may provide accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Justices of the peace and judges also may claim that the government forcing them to conduct same sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections, particularly when other authorized individuals have no objection to conducting such ceremonies, is not the least restrictive means of furthering any compelling governmental interest in ensuring that such ceremonies occur,” said Paxton in a legal opinion statement.

USA Today points out the fact that Paxton clarified, “It is important to note that any clerk who wishes to defend their religious objections and who chooses not to issue licenses may well face litigation and/or a fine. But, numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.

Representative Simpson’s statement on abolishing marriage licensing implied that he is opposed to same-sex marriage. “I cannot and I will not sit idly by while unelected judges redefine the sacred institution of marriage and force our county and state officials to violate their most cherished beliefs. Marriage is a divinely instituted tradition as old as humanity. Government marriage is just another government program and a modern failure. Government has cheapened it, redefined it, and parceled it out for profit. As a Christian, I call on every Texan to reject this aberration and contact the governor to take swift action to end it,” said Simpson.

However, considering the fact that Texas lawmakers appear to be actively protecting county clerks and judges who refuse to perform same-sex marriages, Simpson’s legislative push to abolish marriage licensing could solve that problem by removing those officials from the process entirely, allowing same-sex couples to have their marriages certified instead by a notary.

Ron Paul On Same-Sex Marriage: Why Is Government Involved In Sacrament?

Last week the Supreme Court decided to overrule state laws and allow same-sex marriage across the nation. While many news outlets reported this decision as granting a new right, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul reminded viewers of his Liberty Report that rights do not come from our government—they are natural to us all. A 5-4 ruling does not mean same-sex marriage is a new right, he said.

I think it raises the issue of licensing,” Paul explained. “What they are really talking about is they are changing how you can get a license. The federal courts are overruling what states have done and in many ways they are changing the definition of marriage, which seems to be way beyond what governments are supposed to do. . . . I’m convinced that this could have been prevented by maybe having a lot less laws in the land.

Daniel McAdams, co-host of the Liberty Report, commented that both sides have it wrong, that the traditional family supporters and the same-sex marriage supporters are missing the point. Paul agreed, and shared his views on marriage.

I see marriage as a sacrament, but not everybody wants to see it as a sacrament,” he said. “Why is the government involved in sacrament?” He likened the idea of a government-issued license for marriage to having a government-issued license for baptism.

If we lived in a libertarian free society, you would be able to make your own decision as long as you didn’t exert aggression against somebody else,” Paul continued. “Those who believe in traditional marriage could have a traditional marriage and get married in a church, and those who want a secular marriage can do that too. But I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that today.”

Watch the full episode above and check out more episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report here at Truth In Media.

In case you missed Ben Swann’s Truth In Media episode on ISIS watch it below:


Alabama House Rejects Bill to Abolish Marriage Licensing

On June 4, Alabama’s House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 against a bill, which had previously prevailed in the Alabama Senate, that would have abolished marriage licensing in the state and replaced it with a contract process. The proposal, which had been introduced by State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Range), was aimed at removing probate judges from the marriage licensing process in light of the fact that some of them had arbitrarily refused to sign off on same-sex marriages during a brief period earlier this year when the practice became legal following a January federal court ruling. Under the bill, couples looking to marry would no longer have had to ask a government official for permission.

Though an Alabama Supreme Court injunction had temporarily halted same-sex marriages in Alabama after January’s federal court ruling, Senator Albritton introduced the proposal to abandon marriage licenses in the interim in an effort to get out in front of a potential Supreme Court decision that might re-start the practice in the state. As it happens, that ruling came down on Friday, as the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 US states.

However, as The Mongtomery Advertiser points out, since Senator Albritton’s bill failed, probate judges still have the de facto authority to choose who can marry and some will likely refuse to sign off on same-sex marriages in the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court decision.

Critics of Senator Albritton’s bill called it premature, as, at the time, the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on same-sex marriage. Now that it has and Albritton’s bill has failed, couples attempting to have their same-sex marriages certified by the state may face a chaotic situation in which probate judges in various counties refuse to do so altogether.

If I’m premature, blame me for trying to do right a little early,” said Senator Albritton earlier this month, defending his then-ahead-of-the-times effort to prevent the combination of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling and probate judges’ refusals to sign off on same-sex marriages from plunging the state’s marriage licensing system into disarray.

Had Albritton’s bill passed, same-sex couples could have certified their marriage contracts with a signature by a notary public, clergy member, or attorney, rather than by seeking the approval of a probate judge who may be unwilling to certify their union.

According to The Wall Street Journal‘s law blog, ACLU of Alabama executive director Susan Watson said that four probate judges in the state are currently not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and eight others have stopped issuing marriage licenses at all in the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court decision.

Rand Paul: ‘I Don’t Want My Guns Or My Marriage Registered In Washington’

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same sex marriage in all 50 states, GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) shared his opinion on the issue, highlighting the fact that he thinks the federal government “should get out of the marriage business altogether.

In an editorial for TIME Magazine, Paul wrote that while he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, he still thinks all Americans should have the right to contract, and he thinks it should be a local issue, as the Founding Fathers wanted it to be, judging by the fact that “the Constitution is silent on the question of marriage.

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental liberties protected by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause “extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs.”

Paul noted that while those who disagree with the ruling argue that the  court “should not overturn the will of legislative majorities,” those in favor argue that the 14th Amendment “protects rights from legislative majorities.”

“I’ve often said I don’t want my guns or my marriage registered in Washington,” wrote Paul, who added that “it seems some rights are more equal than others,” judging by the fact that while supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision argue that consenting adults have a right to contract with other consenting adults when it comes to legalizing same sex marriage, they argue against the right to contract when it comes to economic liberties.

As Truth In Media previously reported, the Supreme Court was ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the plaintiff “wanted to be listed as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate but discovered legal challenges regarding his home recognizing marriage performed in an outside state.

Paul noted that while marriage is a contract, it is “more than just a simple contract.” He acknowledged the “right to contract in all economic and personal spheres,” and wrote that having this right does not mean there is not a danger of government involving itself “in every nook and cranny of our lives” and enforcing “definitions that conflict with sincerely felt religious convictions of others.”

[quote_center]“Some have argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling will now involve the police power of the state in churches, church schools, church hospitals,” Paul wrote. “This may well become the next step, and I for one will stand ready to resist any intrusion of government into the religious sphere.”[/quote_center]

In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas noted in his dissent that in the American legal tradition, “liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.”

Paul agreed, writing that while he thinks the government should not prevent people from making contracts, he also thinks it’s time to “examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.”

Paul also questioned whether the government should “allocate any benefits based on marital status,” and whether other states will create bills like the bill seeking to abolish marriage licenses in the state of Alabama.

[quote_center]“Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do—taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it,” Paul wrote. “It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.”[/quote_center]

While other GOP candidates such as Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker opposed the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have said that they would not support an amendment to reverse the court’s ruling.

For more news related to the 2016 Presidential election, click here.

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Same Sex Marriage In All 50 States

In a historic decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that same-sex marriage is legal across the United States.

The decision’s summary stated that “The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs.”

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage in 2003, and since then states have shifted in a similar direction. So far, 37 states and the District of Columbia have allowed same-sex marriage.

The case of Obergefell v. Hodges was brought by lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell, who sought to be listed as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate but discovered legal challenges regarding his home recognizing marriage performed in an outside state.

The ruling in its entirety can be read here.

Alabama Senate Approves Bill to Abolish Marriage Licensing

Truth In Media recently reported on Alabama Senate Bill 377, a legislative proposal aimed at solving an internal dispute over same-sex marriage. On May 19, the bill, which would end marriage licensing in the state and replace it with a contract process, passed the Alabama Senate with 22 voting in favor and 3 voting in opposition.

In January of this year, a federal court legalized same-sex marriage in Alabama, temporarily allowing some couples to marry before the Alabama Supreme Court issued an injunction, halting the practice. During the period of time in which same-sex marriages were allowed in the state, some local probate judges were refusing to sign off on same-sex licenses, effectively nullifying some couples’ right to marry.

In an effort to resolve the issue in advance of a potential future in which same-sex marriages may be declared legal once again, Senate Bill 377 would remove the requirement that couples obtain a license from a probate judge and replace it instead with a contract process requiring only a signature by a notary public, clergy member, or attorney. The bill would only allow two adult parties to join in marriage and would prohibit currently-married people from marrying a second time.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center’s blog, bill sponsor State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Range) said, “When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties… Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.” Senator Albritton wants to abandon the state’s recent experiment in marriage licensing and instead return to the older system where couples choose who they want to marry without government approval.

The Tenth Amendment Center’s Michael Boldin said in support of the bill, “Licenses are used as a way to stop people from doing things… My personal relationship should not be subject to government permission.”

“The intent or motives behind this bill are a moot point. By removing the state from the equation, no one can force another to accept their marriage, nor can they force another to reject that person’s own beliefs regarding an institution older than government,” wrote Shane Trejo for the Tenth Amendment Center.

Now that Senate Bill 377 has passed through the Alabama Senate, it moves on to the state’s House Judiciary Committee, where it will seek approval for a full vote before the Alabama House of Representatives.


UPDATE: Alabama House Rejects Bill to Abolish Marriage Licensing

Alabama Legislature Considers Bill That Would Abolish Marriage Licensing

Last Wednesday, Alabama Senate Bill 377 cleared the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Greg Albritton (R-Range), would eliminate a requirement that marrying couples obtain a license from a probate judge in order to marry, replacing it instead with a marriage contract that, according to Decatur Daily, would require a signature from a notary public, clergy member, or attorney. The legislation is now eligible for a full vote by the Alabama Senate.

“The sanctity of marriage cannot be sanctified by government of men. That is where we have gotten ourselves in trouble,” said Senator Albritton to AL.com. “The purpose of Senate Bill 377 is to bring order out of chaos.”

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, same-sex marriage was temporarily legalized in the state earlier this year when a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages in January. In March, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licences. During the time in which same-sex marriage was temporary legal, some couples obtained licenses while some probate judges indicated that they would stop issuing marriage licenses at all in response, setting up a chaotic dispute.

Senator Albritton’s bill, modeled off of similar legislation that was recently passed by Oklahoma’s House of Representatives, would take away the ability of probate judges to deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in the event that same-sex marriage becomes legal again in the future when the federal and state courts resolve their dispute. “If the law should change in another couple of months or stand, the procedure is the same,” said Albritton. “People go to get married and they can’t get a license in some cases… The courts created a problem in the system, and I’m trying to resolve it in the easiest and simplest way.”

Alabama lawmaker threatens to ‘out’ other lawmakers’ affairs

Alabama’s first openly gay lawmaker has threatened to expose the adulterous behavior of other Alabama lawmakers after some fought the state’s decision to recognize same-sex marriage.

State Rep. Patricia Todd (D) sent out a warning over Facebook telling her colleagues, “I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about ‘family values’ when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have...I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out.

The post was made in response to other lawmakers in Alabama who spoke out against a federal court’s decision to overturn Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. Notably, House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R) called the ruling, “outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Act,” according to AL.

Hubbard also issued a statement following Todd’s Facebook post saying, “I consider Rep. Todd a friend, and we have always enjoyed a good and cordial relationship, so I am sorry that she is upset about my remarks.” The statement continued by saying Hubbard and Todd had a fundamental disagreement on the issue, but Hubbard wrote he wold not back down from his position.

During the weekend though, a request for a two-week stay on the ruling was granted by District Court Judge Callie Granade, according to the Huffington Post. This stay means any same-sex couples who wished to marry in Alabama will have to wait until at least Feb. 9. On that date, the court will have to make a decision whether to continue the stay on the ruling, or to uphold the court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

Todd said according to various reports, her post was not made maliciously, but she “[does] not like hypocrites.” She has said if her colleagues want to defend the sanctity of “family values,” she expects those same colleagues to support those same values.


Florida sees an abundance of same-sex marriages after legalization

Tuesday marked the first day same-sex couples could get married in Florida, and the state saw hundreds of people come out to receive their marriage licenses.

Florida became the 36th state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage at the stroke of midnight between Monday and Tuesday. Some courthouses wasted no time and began to marry couples immediately.

One judge in Miami saw no reason to wait till midnight and began marrying people on Monday, when it was still technically illegal to do so. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel holds the honor of performing the state’s first same-sex union on Monday afternoon, according to the AP. Still, other counties held off until Tuesday.

Howard Forman, the clerk of courts in Broward County, wed 20 gay and lesbian couples at the same time in a five-minute ceremony at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times. As Forman announced the new marriages, cheers erupted from the surrounding crowd of family and friends who were present.

“We had been together so long, we hadn’t put a lot of importance in it,” said Cory Morton, a same-sex marriage license recipient. “It seemed so far-fetched…I found myself getting a little nervous on the way here,” Morton said, according to the Miami Herald

However, not all Florida counties were celebrating with supporters of same-sex marriages.

Duval County Court Clerk Ronnie Fussell shutdown the courthouse chapel to all people who wished to receive marriages license, whether they be same-sex or opposite-sex marriages. A few other counties in northern Florida, where more conservative citizens live, also closed down their courthouses so as not to allow any marriages to take place.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is pursuing an appeal of the decision to allow same-sex marriages to be legal in the state. In 2008, Florida had put a ban on same-sex marriages, and Bondi wants to uphold this previous ruling.

The political framework was ignored by many though as they gladly received their licenses.

“I’m elated,” said William Jones, describing his marriage to Aaron Huntsman. “Overjoyed that I am finally legally recognized with the man I have loved for 12 years now.”

Cruz Calls For Constitutional Amendment After SCOTUS Rejects Anti-Gay Marriage Petitions

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) offered strong criticism of the Supreme Court following its decision to take no action regarding same-sex marriage in several states. Cruz described the decision as “judicial activism at its worst” and announced his intention to introduce a constitutional amendment to stop the government and courts from striking state marriage laws.

On Monday, the SCOTUS chose to reject petitions that challenged same-sex marriage ban reversals in Utah, Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Cruz condemned the inaction of the Supreme Court, calling the move “tragic and indefensible.”

“By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” Cruz stated in his press release.

According to Cruz, the 14th Amendment was ratified as “post Civil-War era reform” but the Supreme Court is “making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment.”

“Marriage is a question for the States. That is why I have introduced legislation, S. 2024, to protect the authority of state legislatures to define marriage. And that is why, when Congress returns to session, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws. Traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society. We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it.”

Senator Cruz’s criticism is echoed by groups like Liberty Counsel and the Family Research Council. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins stated on behalf of its organization that the SCOTUS avoiding making these rulings will essentially force states to legalize gay marriage. “As more and more people lose their livelihoods because they refuse to not just tolerate but celebrate same-sex marriage, Americans will see the true goal, which is for activists to use the Court to impose a redefinition of natural marriage on the entire nation,” stated Perkins.

Fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reportedly voiced a softer, albeit vague, position on same-sex marriage recently. Paul shares the same view with Cruz that marriage should defined state by state. “The bottom line is, I’m old fashioned, I’m a traditionalist. I believe in old-fashioned traditional marriage. But I don’t really think the government needs to be too involved with this, and I think that the Republican Party can have people on both sides of the issue,” said Paul. When asked if he would reconsider that view, he shrugged.

Supreme Court refuses to act on same-sex marriage issue

While more people are showing support for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court made the decision Monday to not get involved with any appeals court decisions over same-sex marriage and allow these courts to decide how their states should move forward.

As a result of their refusal to get involved, five additional states have been added to the list of 19 others who allow same-sex marriage.  These five new states are Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to Reuters.  The appeals courts who rule over these states have already ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the past.

Six other states, who fall under the jurisdiction of those appeals courts, may also be affected by this decision and they may see same-sex marriage soon.  These six are Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states,” said president of the Freedom to Marry organization, Evan Wolfson, according to USA Today.  “But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, according to the BBC, “Today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action.”

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made a decision which has suggested support for same-sex marriage.  Last year, the Supreme Court invalidated parts of a law which denied legally married same-sex partners spousal benefits.

All of the small victories for those in support of same-sex marriage make many believe the Supreme Court will soon make a decision which will tackle the issue nationwide.

Courts rule in favor of same-sex marriage

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in a 2-1 decision earlier today that the Constitution protects same-sex marriage and states must recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry.

The ruling comes after a lower court in Utah struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage, but the Utah attorney general’s office said in a statement according to the AP, they would be filing a petition to the Supreme Court for the review of this decision.

“We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry,” reads the court’s decision.  “A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”

The decision by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming, will not go into effect immediately though.  As soon as the court ruled, the ruling was put on hold pending an appeal.

A similar decision was made in the state of Indiana today, where a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

District Judge Richard Young made the ruling, stating the ban was unconstitutional, but the Indiana Attorney General’s office said they had plans to appeal the ruling.  No action has yet been taken though.

This decision, unlike that of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, will go into effect immediately, allowing same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses today.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council Perkins and opponent to same-sex marriage, said in a statement after the decisions, “While judges can, by judicial fiat, declare same-sex ‘marriage’ legal, they will never be able to make it right.”

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states including the District of Columbia with recent polls showing a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.