New & Noteworthy:

Marriage Equality

As of February 9, 2015:

In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, 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, 16 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, 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, Scotland, and Wales.) A marriage equality law will come into effect in Finland in 2016.

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Federal judge orders Mobile County to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Kim Gebauer, left, and Regina Gebauer both of Daphne, Ala., get married in a double wedding with Peggy Belcher, second from right, and her partner Louise Lynn, both of Mobile, Ala., at Government Plaza in Mobile, Ala., Thursday Feb. 12, 2015. The Rev. Sandy O'Steen of Cornerstone Metropolitan Community Church in Mobile, Ala., officiated.
The federal judge who overturned Alabama’s gay marriage ban ordered a defiant Mobile County judge to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, signaling to probate judges across the state that they should do the same. [...]

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Alabama same-sex couples head back to court to fight for marriage licenses

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Milton Persinger, left, and Robert Povilat wait for a marriage license at the Mobile County Probate office, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Mobile, Ala. A federal judge set a hearing to consider a request to order Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
With many Alabama counties still refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, the federal judge who overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages will hear arguments Thursday that could provide clarity to what has become a confusing, unsettled issue. [...]

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Oklahoma House OKs bill protecting ministers who refuse same-sex marriages

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Oklahoma state capitol in Oklahoma City.
The bill grants licensed ministers in the state immunity from any civil claim based on their refusal to recognize a marriage that violates the minister's "conscience or religious beliefs." [...]

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Americans are ready for marriage equality

Thursday, February 12, 2015
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In a new interview Wednesday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg talks with Bloomberg about the outlook for legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation ... "I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that [...]

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N.C. magistrates sue court officials over having to officiate same-sex marriages

Thursday, February 12, 2015
North-Carolina
One former and one current magistrate have filed a lawsuit against North Carolina court officials, claiming that being forced to preside over same-sex marriages violates their religious freedoms. [...]

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Confusion reigns over same-sex marriage in Alabama

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Robert Povilat, left, and Milton Persinger, comfort each other after hearing that for a second day, the Mobile County Probate office won't issue marriage licenses on Tuesday Feb. 10, 2015 in Mobile, Ala.
Confusion reigns in Alabama over same-sex marriage, days after the first same-sex wedding licenses were issued in the Deep South state. Probate judges say it's been a bewildering week of conflicting signals whether to issue those licenses or not. [...]

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Groups ask Alabama Supreme Court to stop to same-sex marriages

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Alabama Supreme Court
Two conservative groups filed a request Wednesday asking the Alabama Supreme Court to order state probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [...]

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Cruz reintroduces bill to strip federal marriage benefits in states where gay marriage not legal

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has re-introduced the State Marriage Defense Act, a bill that would require the federal government to recognize only marriages that are valid under the laws of the state in which a couple reside. [...]

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Obama disputes aide David Axelrod’s take on same-sex marriage views

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Barack Obama
Barack Obama is disputing a longtime aide's view that the president feigned opposition to same-sex marriage, compromising his true beliefs out of concern it could hurt him with voters. [...]

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Missouri Supreme Court says lower courts can consider same-sex divorce cases

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City, Mo.
A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge should not have dismissed a request to divorce a same-sex couple, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, but didn't decide on the broader issue of whether judges can grant divorces to gay couples. [...]

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