Obama administration formally supports nationwide gay marriage

7 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Civil rights groups ask judge to order gay-marriage licenses in Alabama.

The reigning baseball and football champions, along with baseball’s small-market Tampa Bay Rays, are among the thousands of businesses, religious groups, advocacy organizations and politicians who are filing legal briefs at the Supreme Court in support of gay marriage.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 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. 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. Granade of United States District Court, could trigger the next salvo in a showdown between state and federal judiciaries over same-sex marriage in one of the nation’s most conservative states.

After endorsing same-sex marriage nearly two decades ago, and then rejecting that idea eight years later, Obama has made expanding LGBT rights a hallmark of his domestic policy agenda. The Patriots play in Massachusetts, the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, and the Giants represent a city that is notable for its gay and lesbian community. ‘‘We’re a small but visible business and I actually think it’s important that we send this signal of inclusion to the entire region,’’ Auld said in a telephone interview Thursday as he watched the Rays’ first spring training game in Port Charlotte, Florida. Casting it as the next chapter of the civil rights movement, the president has used language to reframe the public debate over sexual orientation and gender identity and his executive authority to expand federal benefits and protections for these Americans. 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 opening had been made possible by two rulings Judge Granade issued in late January that declared Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

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. His administration announced in 2011 that it would not defend the constitutionality of the key section of the Defense of Marriage Act that excluded gay couples from federal marriage benefits. Four couples from California and Virginia who had wanted the court to use their cases to settle the issue of same-sex marriage nationwide also are calling on the justices to strike down state gay-marriage bans everywhere. 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. The victim, whose name was not released due to his youth, is expected to survive his injuries, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

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 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.

And the motion asks that all of the same-sex couples wishing to marry in Alabama be named in addition to the four couples who are currently named as plaintiffs. Virginia, this court applied the ‘most rigid scrutiny’ under the Equal Protection Clause to invalidate state laws banning interracial marriage,” said the brief filed by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. “There is similarly no reason to water down the otherwise appropriate level of scrutiny here.” The brief draws heavily on the court’s DOMA decision, U.S. v. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who has played a key role in shaping the administration’s approach to gay rights, said in an interview before the filing, “We fight discrimination in every way we can.” “We are delighted with the fact that when the president took office, same-sex marriage was legal in two states, and it is now legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia,” she said. As an Illinois state senate candidate, he endorsed the idea in a 1996 questionnaire with an LGBT Chicago newspaper, a comment his aides later said was written by a campaign aide and not representative of his views.

By December 2010, the president said his opinion on the matter was “constantly evolving,” and in May 2012, days after Vice President Biden surprised the White House by declaring that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, Obama publicly endorsed it as well. On a more practical level, the administration has expanded benefits and safeguards for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Regardless of where they live, legally married same-sex spouses are now recognized for most federal and military benefits and can receive health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Obama has appointed a record number of LGBT Americans to key senior administration posts, has nominated eight openly gay individuals to serve as U.S. ambassadors and has seated 11 openly-gay judges on the federal bench.

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