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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Texas lawmakers, conservative leaders celebrate 10 years of marriage inequality

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Republican leaders in Austin joined members of the conservative coalition Texas Values to slice a ceremonial cake on the 10th anniversary of the passage of the so-called Texas Marriage Amendment, which defined marriage as "one man and one woman" in Texas.
Several Texas lawmakers joined conservative leaders at the state capitol in Tuesday for a controversial slice of symbolic wedding cake in a 10th anniversary celebration of the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. [...]

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Rabbi who presided over same‑sex wedding leads Texas House in prayer

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Goodfriend, left, and Suzanne Bryant hold hands with Rabbi Kerry Baker during their wedding ceremony outside of the Travis County Clerk's office in Austin, Texas on Thursday morning, Feb. 19, 2015.
The rabbi who defied Texas' same-sex marriage ban and wed a lesbian couple last week led the morning prayer in the Republican-dominated Texas House on Wednesday, catching staunch supporters of the prohibition off-guard. [...]

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Texas lawmaker files complaint against judge who allowed same-sex wedding

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tony Tinderholt
A state lawmaker's complaint has prompted the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate a judge who ordered the issuance of a marriage license to a same-sex couple. [...]

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N.C. Senate OKs bill allowing officials to refuse to officiate same-sex marriages

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
North-Carolina
Some North Carolina court officials could opt out of marriage duties - including same-sex marriages - under legislation approved by the state Senate. [...]

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Southeast Alaska tribal organization to allow same-sex marriages

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tlingit-Haida Central Council President Richard Peterson
The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced its new policy following a unanimous vote by the council’s governing board to define legal marriage without a gender requirement. [...]

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Labor Dept. updates Family and Medical Leave Act to include same-sex spouses

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Labor-Dept
The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday issued a final rule revising the regulatory definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to include married, same-sex couples. [...]

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Couple in Alabama same-sex marriage case still refused adoption petition

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Cari Searcy (left) with her spose Kimberly McKean and son Khaya at their home in Mobile, Ala.
The couple whose lawsuit got Alabama's same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional is headed back to court after a probate judge again refused to grant their adoption petition. [...]

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Iowa GOP lawmakers still seeking constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Iowa
Nearly six years after a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, Republican lawmakers are still battling to overturn the ruling by amending the state constitution. [...]

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North Carolina Senate panel advances anti-LGBT magistrate discrimination bill

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh.
A bill that would allow magistrates and registers of deeds to opt out of providing legal marriage services or issuing marriage licenses, passed out of a state Senate committee on Tuesday, and heads to a full hearing on the Senate floor. [...]

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Both sides submit final arguments in Nebraska same-sex marriage lawsuit

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Nebraska
Attorneys on both sides of the legal fight over Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage have turned in final written arguments on a motion to quash the ban immediately. [...]

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