Tuesday, June 28, 2016
A federal judge on Monday agreed with plaintiffs challenging a Mississippi law that protects marriage equality opponents, saying that it conflicts with the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling.
The high court last year found that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.
Republican Governor Phil Bryant in April signed House Bill 1523 into law. The law, which takes effect Friday, states that clerks may recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses when their “sincerely held religious beliefs” dictate that “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” Such a recusal cannot “impede or delay” marriage licensing, the law states.
Opponents of the law asked a federal court to reopen the 2015 case that struck down Mississippi's marriage ban, arguing that the new law, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, violates the permanent injunction they secured in the case.
U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves agreed, saying that “HB 1523 significantly changes the landscape of Mississippi's marriage licensing laws.”
Reeves, however, denied plaintiffs' request to file an additional complaint in the case against the state's registrar.
He stated that the law's recusal provision essentially allows the state to treat gay and lesbian couples differently from straight couples.
“In [the recusal provision], the State is permitting the differential treatment to be carried out by individual clerks,” he wrote. “A statewide policy has been 'pushed down' to an individual-level policy. But the alleged constitutional infirmity is the same.”
“The Supreme Court's ruling [in Obergefell] will be enforced,” Reeves added.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) on Saturday held its annual March for Marriage.
This year's event was the first since the U.S. Supreme Court found that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, celebrates its one year anniversary on Sunday.
Despite months of promotion by NOM, the event drew a low turnout. According to ThinkProgress' Zack Ford, 237 people – including infants, journalists and curious onlookers – were counted in attendance.
Leading the march to the steps of the Supreme Court was NOM President Brian Brown.
In speaking to the crowd, Brown compared marriage equality to slavery. In a blog post to promote this year's March for Marriage, NOM said that it had “an aggressive plan to fight back against the Supreme Court's profoundly unjust and unprincipled decision,” but the group provided no details.
Normally, I'd have something to say about this, but, I'll just let the pictures say it for me.