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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Puerto Rico says it will no longer defend same-sex marriage ban

Friday, March 20, 2015
Puerto-Rico
Secretary of Justice César Miranda said he will submit a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, saying he agrees the ban is unconstitutional and should be lifted. [...]

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Michigan Democrats push bills to legalize same-sex marriage

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Michigan
Rep. Jeremy Moss is sponsoring a bill to allow a voter referendum to overturn the state's same-sex marriage ban, saying attitudes have changed in the decade since voters wrote the ban into the state constitution. [...]

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Costa Rica government plans legislation to allow same-sex civil unions

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Costa-Rica
Costa Rica will put forth a plan this week to allow civil unions between same-sex couples in the Central American nation. [...]

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Texas sues federal government over FMLA benefits for same-sex couples

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas)
The lawsuit comes following a change by the Labor Department granting paid time off to legally married same-sex couples, even if they are living in a state, like Texas, that does not recognize same-sex marriage. [...]

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Report: Puerto Rico government to stop defending same-sex marriage ban

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Puerto-Rico
The U.S. island territory's ban is being challenged in a federal appeals court and the governor, named as a defendant, has until Friday to respond to a federal appeals court in Boston. [...]

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Alabama probate judge asks court to amend same-sex marriage order

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Steven Reed
Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed said it's important the state not engage in "foot dragging" regarding constitutional rights. [...]

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Idaho House panel backs federal judge impeachment resolution

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Idaho-capitol
Idaho GOP lawmakers upset with federal judges overturning same-sex marriage bans across the country are pushing Congress to impeach judges who rule in favor of marriage equality. [...]

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Presbyterians approve same-sex marriage in church constitution

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The Presbyterian Church (USA) boasts more than 1.8 million members and 10,000 congregations, like this one in Peoria, Ill.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has expanded its definition of marriage to include a "commitment between two people," recognizing gay marriage as Christian in the church constitution after decades of debate over same-sex relationships. [...]

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Ala. governor calls same-sex marriage a ‘social experiment’ in court brief

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Gov. Robert Bentley (R-Ala.)
Gov. Robert Bentley filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of April arguments describing same-sex marriage as social experiment that undermines the rights of children. [...]

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Federal judge won’t stay order in Alabama same-sex marriage case

Monday, March 16, 2015
US-District-Judge-Callie-Granade
A federal judge is not backing off her order to an Alabama probate judge that he must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [...]

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