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September 10, 2004 | Claire Luna, Times Staff Writer
An unassuming Mission Viejo couple, self-described homebodies in baggy jeans and bifocals, don't give the immediate impression of being at the forefront of the same-sex marriage movement. And, being the first Californians to file a federal lawsuit challenging state and federal marriage laws, Christopher Hammer and Arthur Smelt have found themselves at odds not only with those who think same-sex marriage is unlawful but also with the nation's largest gay-rights organizations.
December 19, 2013 | By Cindy Carcamo
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.
March 1, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Public opinion on marriage for gay and lesbian couples has shifted with almost unprecedented speed since California voters banned such unions in 2008. That shift could influence the Supreme Court, in particular Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and possibly Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., as it decides whether to uphold Proposition 8 in coming months. Throughout his long career, Kennedy has been willing to make major changes in the law on issues including the death penalty, gun rights and gay rights.
December 2, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Same-sex marriages began on Monday in Hawaii as the place where the initial battles for gay marriage recognition started decades ago became the latest state to authorize the ceremony. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, though Illinois won't begin gay weddings until June. “We started this battle 23 years ago and we get to finish it tonight,”  Honolulu Pride Chairman Michael Golojuch Jr. told reporters early Monday morning.
January 28, 2005 | Jean O. Pasco, Times Staff Writer
A gay Mission Viejo couple asked a federal judge in Santa Ana on Thursday to overturn federal and state marriage laws barring same-sex unions. Attorney Richard Gilbert argued that denying a marriage license to Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer violated their rights under the U.S. and state constitutions. He asked U.S.
May 3, 2009 | Robin Wilson, Robin Wilson is a professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law.
As a growing number of states stand poised to pass same-sex marriage laws, they should consider this: It's possible to legalize gay marriage without infringing on religious liberty. But it takes careful crafting of robust religious protections. And no state has gotten that right yet. The country is deeply divided on same-sex marriage.
June 10, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A Superior Court judge is recommending that five cases dealing with same-sex marriage be coordinated, bringing the city's challenge to marriage laws one step closer to trial. The city's attorneys had opposed combining cases on grounds that doing so could delay the city's lawsuit, which contends that state laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman are discriminatory and violate the state constitution.
October 29, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
A state appeals court in Albany unanimously upheld a ruling barring a village mayor from performing same-sex marriages, saying he acted beyond his authority when he presided over two dozen ceremonies last year. A lawyer for New Paltz Mayor Jason West promised to appeal to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals. "West robed himself with judicial powers and declared the marriage laws of this state unconstitutional," Justice John Lahtinen wrote in the decision.
February 7, 1997 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Hawaii's Senate called for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages while approving a new law that would give gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits of married heterosexuals. The first bill would allow Hawaiians to vote in 1998 on a constitutional amendment giving the state the power to approve only opposite-sex marriages, as long as the marriage laws don't discriminate on the basis of gender.
October 9, 2004 | Lee Romney, Times Staff Writer
The state attorney general filed a legal brief Friday defending California's marriage laws, arguing that although committed relationships, gay or straight, "form the cornerstone of nurturing families and a stable society," voters and legislators have reserved marriage for heterosexuals for more than a century. That "common and traditional understanding of marriage" should be upheld unless voters or lawmakers alter it, Atty. Gen.
July 15, 2013 | By Henry Chu and Devorah Lauter
LE CHESNAY, France - Through his office window, Philippe Brillault can see the palace of Versailles, where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beset by an angry mob and forced to move to Paris in the beginning days of the French Revolution. Brillault now sees another kind of revolution, one he believes will also have profound social consequences. As the mayor of Le Chesnay, he refuses to participate: He will not, he says, personally conduct any same-sex weddings in this affluent Paris suburb, even though such unions have just been made legal nationwide.
March 28, 2013 | David G. Savage and David Lauter
After two days of arguments on same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court seemed poised to give gays and lesbians a major legal victory but probably not the immediate right to marry in all states that many of them had hoped for. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's questions during Wednesday's oral arguments suggested that he was leaning toward joining the court's four liberals in taking an important but limited step to strike down federal discrimination against...
March 27, 2013 | David G. Savage and Noam N. Levey
The Supreme Court, hearing arguments on the emotionally charged issue of gay marriage for the first time, appeared willing Tuesday to restore marital rights to gays and lesbians in California but uncomfortable with legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. The justices sounded sharply divided as they considered Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage, and wary of going too far, too fast. None of them spoke up for a sweeping ruling that would require every state to change its marriage laws.
March 27, 2013 | By David Lauter
WASHINGTON -- Wednesday's arguments underway before the Supreme Court could give the justices an opportunity to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act -- the law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married. But just like Tuesday's case challenging California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, a ruling on the substance of the issue could be forestalled by procedural issues. If the justices find that procedural barriers block them from getting to the merits of the case they would, in effect, decide the case by default -- a lower-court ruling that held the law unconstitutional would stand.
March 27, 2013 | By Maura Dolan and Christine Mai-Duc
Legal experts said Wednesday that U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested they might strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to legally married gay couples. It marked the second landmark gay-rights case the justices considered this week. On Tuesday, they heard testimony on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriages. Some members of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to be concerned Wednesday that a  federal law barring recognition of same-sex marriages interfered with state rights, a law professor said.
March 26, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey and David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court asked skeptical questions Tuesday of former Reagan administration lawyer Charles J. Cooper about his assertion that California's ban on gay marriage should be upheld. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. questioned Cooper as to whether his clients had standing to challenge lower court decisions overturning Proposition 8. Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as the swing vote on the issue, asked about the rights of children whose parents are already married.
March 26, 2004 | Maura Dolan, Times Staff Writer
Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer told the California Supreme Court on Thursday that San Francisco exceeded its legal authority when it issued more than 4,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In written arguments filed with the state high court, Lockyer said the state Constitution requires local authorities to obey state laws unless a court has found them unconstitutional. "This proceeding is not about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage," Lockyer said.
April 9, 2004 | Lee Romney, Times Staff Writer
A Superior Court judge Thursday denied the request of same-sex marriage opponents to intervene in the city's case challenging the constitutionality of state marriage laws, saying the group's members would suffer no harm if gays and lesbians were allowed to wed.
March 26, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Advocates for and against same-sex marriage will make legal arguments to the Supreme Court this week about whether laws such as the federal  Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 run afoul of the Constitution.  Meanwhile, in medical literature, doctors, psychologists, sociologists and other researchers have been making the case that allowing gays and lesbians to marry results in tangible health benefits for the couples involved, their...
March 26, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in a California case that could transform the law nationwide. The argument was scheduled to last only one hour, but it may give clues as to how the justices are leaning. It began shortly after 10 a.m. EDT.  About 1 p.m. the court will release audio of the arguments on its website . About an hour later, it will post written transcripts. Two former Reagan administration lawyers, Charles J. Cooper and Theodore B. Olson, were lined up on opposite sides, with Olson contending an equal right to marry is basic to American liberty and Cooper saying the decision on changing state marriage laws should be left to the voters in each state.
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