December 31, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - With an emergency appeal filed Tuesday by Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court is again facing a difficult decision on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry - a question the justices carefully dodged last year. Utah's attorney general is asking the high court to issue an emergency stay to restore a state law banning same-sex marriage that was struck down a week and a half ago by a U.S. District Court judge. Since then, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in Utah have rushed to marry.
December 30, 2013 |
SALT LAKE CITY - Wade Hunt could see change looming on the horizon, a stubborn movement to legalize gay marriage that crept toward Utah's Mormon faithful state by state, one same-sex wedding at a time. But he never dreamed it would reach here. What works in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota and 15 other states would never fly in the traditional Beehive State, he believed. This is conservative country, where the locally-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made clear that a marriage is a bond between a man and a women.
December 29, 2013 |
New Mexico has seen celebrations across the state since its highest court 10 days ago unanimously ruled it was unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples. Not so for the sovereign Navajo Nation, whose borders spill over into the northeast part of the state and where tribal law is clear: Such unions are banned. Some Navajo hope to change that, buoyed by the cultural climate shift underscored when the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Gay marriage is permitted in the District of Columbia and 18 states, the most recent being Utah, although officials there plan to appeal a federal court decision that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
December 24, 2013 |
Determined to reinstate its anti-gay marriage law, Utah officials said Tuesday they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court "as soon as possible" after an appellate court refused to grant an emergency stay of a lower court ruling. U.S. District Judge Richard Shelby invalidated Utah's law last week and refused to suspend his decision. On Tuesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state's plea for an emergency stay. A spokesman for the Utah attorney general's office told the Los Angeles Times that his office is disappointed.
December 24, 2013
Re "Methodist pastor defrocked," Dec. 20 I write in defense of the defrocked minister, the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who officiated at the marriage of his gay son. As a fellow Methodist minister in a denomination that has led the charge on so many civil rights issues, I am ashamed. Many states now recognize same sex-marriages, and yet the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline still says that the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching. " This doesn't reflect the thinking of most Methodists in the Western U.S., the upper Midwest or the Northeast.
December 23, 2013 |
Same-sex marriage is picking up steam in the courts. A federal judge ordered Ohio on Monday to recognize gay marriages on death certificates, but used broad language that could be cited to mount a broader challenge to the law barring such unions. It was the third judicial decision in the last week favoring same-sex marriage rights. In Utah, a federal judge struck down a gay marriage ban Friday and refused to suspend his decision Monday. A federal appellate court also rejected Utah's plea to put his ruling on hold.
December 21, 2013 |
Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge of Salt Lake City didn't know they were going to get married on Friday. They didn't even have the time to tell anyone. Wood was so frazzled she almost forgot to grab her driver's license before heading to the Salt Lake County clerk's office. The couple, plaintiffs in a Utah court case seeking to end the state's ban on same-sex marriage, were in shock when they heard the news Friday that U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby had struck down that very law, which was put in place by Utah voters in 2004.
December 19, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Frank Schaefer had prepared for the worst, but his voice shook Thursday as he described how it felt to be defrocked by the United Methodist Church after he refused to comply with its law against same-sex marriage. "I guess I took it harder than I thought I would," Schaefer said shortly after a private meeting in which church officials demanded that the pastor from Lebanon, Pa., surrender his credentials. "I was prepared for it, but it's traumatic. " Schaefer, who officiated at his son's marriage to another man in 2007, appealed, setting the stage for a drawn-out battle over an issue that has put the United Methodist Church at odds with some of its clergy and with public attitudes toward same-sex marriage.
December 19, 2013 |
New Mexico's highest court unanimously ruled Thursday it is unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples, making it the newest state to legalize gay weddings. The Supreme Court justices said the state must respect the marriages of all same-sex couples, including those who wed before their decision. Prior to the ruling, county clerks in eight New Mexico counties had started issuing marriage licenses to hundreds of same-sex couples. “Barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection Clause under Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution,” Justice Edward Chavez wrote for the court.
December 19, 2013 |
The Rev. Frank Schaefer, who officiated at his son's gay marriage, was defrocked Thursday by the United Methodist church after he refused to change his position on gay marriage. Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pa., was suspended last month for violating church policy on same-sex marriage. A church jury gave him 30 days to change his position or face being defrocked. The Methodist church accepts gay parishioners, but rejects the practice of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. On Thursday, the end of the 30-day period, Schaefer met with the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and said he was unwilling to change his position and refused to voluntarily surrender his ministerial credentials.