Diverse groups tell Supreme Court they support same-sex marriage (+video)
Civil rights groups ask judge to order gay-marriage licenses in Alabama.
WASHINGTON — A wide spectrum of political, religious, and business groups – including the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots – filed legal briefs at the US Supreme Court on Friday urging the justices to rule in favor of same-sex marriage in the upcoming blockbuster case.
Feb. 9, 2015: Shay French, right, and Kiera Willis, both of Mobile, Ala., embrace after learning that Mobile County probate judge Don Davis refused to issue marriage licenses at the Mobile County Probate office. (AP) MOBILE, Ala. – A group of civil rights organizations filed a motion Friday asking a federal judge to order Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and to expand a suit challenging the state’s gay-marriage ban. The friend of the court briefs were filed on behalf of more than 300 Republicans, 379 American companies, 226 mayors, and nearly 2,000 clergy members who say the high court should rule that gay men and lesbians have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. The amicus brief filed by Justice Department lawyers urged the Supreme Court to find such bans unconstitutional because “they exclude a long-mistreated class of human beings from a legal and social status of tremendous import.” The Obama administration takes the position that laws denying same-sex marriage violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
The Assembly granted final approval of the right-to-work bill that allows employees in union workplaces to opt out of dues and membership 62-35 along party lines. The brief argues that throughout US history, gay and lesbian people have been discriminated against and the governments on the federal, state and local levels have contributed to that history. District Judge Callie Granade in Mobile includes Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Gay individuals have “encountered numerous barriers – public and private, symbolic and create – that have prevented them from full, free, and equal participation in American life,” stated the brief, according to the Huffington Post. “It should go without saying that marriage is much more than a government incentive program to encourage biological parents to stay together,” the brief states, according to the Huffington Post. Although federal judges have struck down similar marriage laws in more than two dozen states in recent months, a federal appeals court upheld traditional marriage laws in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts high school dean charged with the attempted execution-style murder of a student he had inducted into an alleged drug ring had once worked with Boston police on efforts to combat drugs and gangs, a police spokesman said on Friday. The court will hear oral arguments April 28 in a case arising out of challenges to state laws banning gay marriage in Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says he is not sure how his constituents feel about the issue, but said it wouldn’t affect his view either way. ‘‘I don’t think constitutional rights are subject to public opinion,’’ Cranley said. In January, Supreme Court justices said they would hear cases from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, all four of which have banned gay marriage within their states, under the case Obergefell v. Shaun Harrison, the now-fired dean of The English High School, hired one of his students to sell marijuana and shot the 17-year-old boy in the back of the head on a Boston street Tuesday night after a disagreement.
But this current crop of briefs is the largest showing so far. “It shows the extraordinary broad base of support,” Camilla Taylor of the gay rights group, Lambda Legal, told reporters in a teleconference on Friday. The justices will need to rule not only on whether state bans are constitutional, but also on whether states have to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states. In addition to the Patriots professional football team, two major league baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays, also joined that brief. BOSTON — Hundreds of millions of Windows PC users are vulnerable to attacks exploiting the recently uncovered “Freak” security vulnerability, which was initially believed to only threaten mobile devices and Mac computers, Microsoft Corp warned on Thursday.
The companies said that the “fractured legal landscape” with some states recognizing same-sex marriage and others banning it is harmful to employers and employees. They said the patchwork of laws imposes an economic cost on businesses of $1 billion a year – including making it harder for companies in certain states to recruit and retain the most talented employees. “My view on this is pretty simple,” he said. “I don’t think there is a legal justification for a different legal treatment of these particular relationships.” He said his brother is gay and married, and that by watching his brother and his partner interact, he had come to the conclusion that there was no moral justification for preventing same-sex marriages. “I happen to be a big believer in individual rights,” he said. “We should simply permit people who are in love to marry the people who they are in love with.” Officially, the Republican Party is opposed to same-sex marriage. The wreck of a derailed BNSF Railway train loaded with crude oil from North Dakota was still burning 164 miles west of Chicago on Friday, and the company warned that shipments along the line could be delayed up to 48 hours. … Two brothers were charged with murder on Friday stemming from the shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer during the botched robbery of a game store, authorities said. In 2012, he refused to sign a pledge with other mayors nationwide in support of gay marriage, and in 2013 his opposition helped doom a Dallas City Council resolution calling for marriage equality.
That resolution, he argued, was merely symbolic and a distraction, since the city could do nothing to overturn a state statute. “I am not a big fan of signing toothless pledges, because I don’t find them very significant,” he said. Stanley McChrystal, Maine Senator Susan Collins, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, investor and philanthropist Daniel Loeb, and Hewlett-Packard President and CEO Meg Whitman.
Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, told reporters that the issue in the case was civil marriage, not religious marriage. Some state bans, it notes, are so broad that they’ve hampered municipal efforts to provide even basic benefits to gay couples. “Gay and lesbian couples live in all of our communities, where they raise children, support each other in sickness and in health, combine assets, buy homes and otherwise engage in all the indicia of marriage,” it says. “The stability of these family units directly benefit municipalities.” In many ways, Rawlings’ support for gay marriage is unremarkable. Dallas is home to one of the nation’s largest gay populations, and to what’s routinely described as the world’s largest gay-oriented church, the Cathedral of Hope. In 2007, the mayor’s race came down to a runoff between business executive Tom Leppert and openly gay council member Ed Oakley. (Leppert won.) Dallas mayors have routinely marched in an annual gay pride parade.
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