National

Supreme Court won't halt gay marriages from starting in Florida

WASHINGTON DC -- In perhaps the strong signal yet from the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices voted 7-2 against extending a federal judge's stay that expires on Jan. 5, meaning that gay marriages will begin next month in Florida.

This order was also eye-opener because it is the first time the Supreme Court has reacted to a district court ruling that has not been discussed at the appellate court level.

The news was dropped late Friday as the East Coast news cycle wound down and Washington prepared for a long holiday break.

Westboro Baptist again not allowed to intervene in Kansas gay marriage case

TOPEKA, Kansas -- A federal judge for the second time has refused to allow Westboro Baptist Church to intervene in a case challenging Kansas' ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree first denied Westboro's request in November. He said the church could file an amicus brief.

“Based on the case's current state, the Court finds that existing defendants who seek to uphold Kansas same-sex marriage and recognition bans adequately represent WBC's interest on the issues currently before the Court,” Crabtree said in his 9-page ruling.

Montana: Teen wakes up to find gay slur spray-painted on door

BILLINGS, Montana -- A three-letter word spray-painted onto Cain Stacy’s trailer door in the Heights greets the bisexual teen whenever he comes home.

“Fag.”

It’s his own scarlet letter.

The word first showed up eight days ago, when the 18-year-old, who goes by Caz, said he came home to find it scrawled in rust-colored paint on his front door.

It was not the word so much that bothered him. Stacy said people have been launching it at him for as long as he can remember. He is used to it.

“I’ve been called a fag my whole life,” he says.

South Carolina: Bill would punish state judges who hear gay marriage cases

COLUMBIA, South Carolina -- A bill filed in the South Carolina legislature would punish any state judge who hears a gay marriage case, a move that is already being criticized by a legal watchdog group.

HB 3022 was filed in the House on Dec. 11 by Rep. William M. "Bill" Chumley, a Republican from Woodruff representing District 35.

The bill proposes to amend state law of the 1976 Code by adding this language:

Arkansas Supreme Court could rule on gay marriage “anytime”

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – People eager to hear the ruling of the gay marriage case before the Arkansas Supreme Court can expect it to be handed down “anytime,” according to a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The court heard oral arguments on Nov. 20, and after they ended, an opinion was expected from the court within a few weeks.

Texas: Legislators seek to overturn anti-gay birth certificate law

AUSTIN, Texas -- The day Andy Miller and Brian Stephens jointly adopted their son Clark in 2007 was among the happiest of their lives.

But the couple’s elation turned to disappointment when they walked out of the courtroom and down a hall to the Travis County Clerk’s Office.

That’s when Miller and Stephens realized they faced a difficult choice, because they couldn’t include both of their names on Clark’s supplemental birth certificate.

Michigan: "Religious freedom" bill stalls in lame-duck session

LANSING, Michigan – Some powerful voices are aligned on both sides of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but it appears the bill that provides protections for "sincerely held religious beliefs" will die for the year.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, hasn't put the issue on the agenda and said he's not inclined to include it in the final days of the lame-duck session. If it's not today, it dies for the year, but it can be reintroduced next year.

Hawaii Supreme Court to hear gay-marriage arguments today

HONOLULU, Hawaii — The state's Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments today in a state Republican representative's lawsuit challenging the gay marriage law.

While the Legislature was considering the bill last year, Rep. Bob McDermott tried to stop the state from issuing any marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The circuit court denied his motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. McDermott appealed.

U.S. Supreme Court to consider taking up Louisiana gay marriage case

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday distributed a Louisiana marriage equality case for its Jan. 9, 2015 conference.

The justices will deliberate whether to take up Robicheaux v. George on appeal after a federal district court upheld the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples in September of this year.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow responded to today's news.

First openly gay judge confirmed to federal bench in Texas

WASHINGTON DC -- The U.S. Senate Tuesday night confirmed Robert Pitman to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Pitman becomes the first openly gay judge to sit on the federal bench in Texas, and also assumes a seat that had been vacant for more than six years.

Lambda Legal Fair Courts Project Manager Eric Lesh applauded the appointment.

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