New & Noteworthy:

Marriage Equality

As of November 20, 2014:

In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in 35 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming), in the District of Columbia, and in the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. Legal challenges are pending in the remaining states.

Since 2000, 15 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, and Uruguay) have legalized same-sex marriage, as have parts of Mexico and the Untied Kingdom. (In the United Kingdom, same-sex marriage is legal in England and Wales, and will become legal in Scotland on Dec. 31, 2014.) Same-sex marriage in Luxembourg will come into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

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5th Circuit schedules hearings in appeals of Texas, Louisiana gay marriage rulings

Monday, October 27, 2014
John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse in New Orleans,   home of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
NEW ORLEANS, La. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Monday scheduled oral arguments in the appeals of same-sex marriage rulings from Texas and Louisiana. The court set arguments for both cases to be heard during the week of January 5, 2015. [...]

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Westboro Baptist Church seeks to defend Kansas same-sex marriage ban

Monday, October 27, 2014
Westboro Baptist Church members demonstrate against gay rights
TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Westboro Baptist Church, home of the anti-gay extremists behind the “Gods Hate Fags” demonstrations, is seeking to intervene as defendants in a federal lawsuit challenging Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage. [...]

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Creighton University to offer same-sex benefits despite archbishop’s objection

Monday, October 27, 2014
St. John's Church at Creighton University.
OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton University will soon begin offering health benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of its employees despite the objections of the local Catholic archbishop. Creighton President Rev. Timothy Lannon announced the change Monday. He said 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities already offer similar benefits. [...]

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Woman sues to use wife’s name on South Carolina driver’s license

Monday, October 27, 2014
South-Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A woman who says South Carolina officials refused to let her use her wife's family name on her driver's license has filed a federal lawsuit, another in a string of recent cases challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. [...]

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Decision to fight same-sex marriage ruling costs Idaho taxpayers $80,000

Monday, October 27, 2014
Idaho
BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho officials have spent more than $80,000 challenging a federal judge's decision overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The Spokesman-Review reports that information it obtained through a public records request shows Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter earlier this month agreed to pay a Washington, D.C., attorney... [...]

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Same-sex marriage appeal won’t go directly to Florida Supreme Court

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.
MIAMI -- A Florida appeals court has refused to allow Attorney General Pam Bondi take the state's same-sex marriage ban directly to the Florida Supreme Court. The 3rd District Court of Appeal on Friday indicated it will likely rule itself on previous decisions striking down the Miami-Dade and Monroe counties [...]

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A survival guide for Christians who have been fighting against marriage equality

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Members of the Family Foundation and traditional marriage, Barbara Kerns, of Midlothain, Va., left, and Linda Gagliardo, of Chester Va., pray outside the Federal Appeals Court in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, May 13, 2014 as the court considered the constitutionality of Virginia's gay marriage ban.
Many of us have been in the Marriage Equality war for a long, long time. I remember a drag queen host taking the microphone at San Jose Pride about a dozen years ago. She saw a group with “Freedom to Marry” t-shirts, and with a twinge of sadness remarked, [...]

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Clinton keynotes HRC event: ‘Still barriers that need to be brought down’

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Bill Clinton speaks at the Human Rights Campaign national gala on Saturday, October 25, 2014, in Washington D.C.
WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Saturday commended LGBT rights activists for a string a victories that have brought marriage equality to a majority of states, and encouraged the LGBT community to continue its push to break down additional barriers. "I’ve never seen a civil rights movement, at [...]

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N.C. GOP lawmakers tell officials it’s OK to refuse to marry same-sex couples

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Phil Berger
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Twenty-eight Republicans in the North Carolina Senate are urging state courts administrators not to punish employees who refuse to marry gay couples based on religious objections. [...]

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Wisconsin insurers open enrollment for married same-sex couples

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Wisconsin-1
MILWAUKEE -- Several Wisconsin insurance companies are holding special sign-ups so same-sex couples can add spouses to their health plans. The special enrollment periods are needed because gays and lesbians who got married in Wisconsin last summer were unable to add spouses to their coverage amid the uncertainty ... [...]

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