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. On May 22, 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote of its citizens.

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North Carolina magistrates directed to officiate same-sex marriages

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Lee Plume, left, and Dean Lindsey, right, kiss following their marriage ceremony outside the Mecklenburg County and Courts Office building during marriage ceremonies on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Monday was the first day that gay couples could marry in Mecklenburg County after a judge's ruling.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina magistrates were directed Wednesday to perform civil marriages for same-sex couples or face suspension or dismissal from their state jobs. Pamela Weaver Best, general counsel for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, sent a letter to state magistrates saying they would be violating [...]

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Federal judge asked to rule on Montana’s same-sex marriage ban

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Jimmy Emerson
HELENA, Mont. -- Four couples challenging Montana's ban on same-sex marriages have asked a federal judge to decide the issue without going to trial. The couples, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the request Wednesday. [...]

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Alaska asks federal appeals court to delay same-sex marriages

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Alaska-flag
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The state of Alaska is asking a federal appeals court for a stay after a judge ruled the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. The state seeks the stay from the 9th Circuit Court while it appeals the lower court's opinion. [...]

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Groups file federal lawsuit to force South Carolina to allow same-sex marriages

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Colleen Condon, left, and Nichols Bleckley are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging South Carolina's gay marriage ban.
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- South Carolina Equality and Lambda Legal on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court arguing that South Carolina is obligated to allow same-sex couples to marry, consistent with a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. [...]

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Lambda Legal urges federal judge to strike down Arizona gay marriage ban

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Arizona
PHOENIX -- Lambda Legal on Wednesday urged a federal court judge in Phoenix to issue an immediate ruling striking down Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. The filing follows last Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho, which came [...]

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Idaho begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Idaho marriage
BOISE, Idaho -- The state of Idaho has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Dozens of couples waiting in line at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on Wednesday morning cheered as state officials begin issuing the licenses moments ago. [...]

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Alaska’s first same-sex marriages performed in Arctic town of Barrow

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Alaska's first same-sex couples to marry are (from left) Kristine Hilderbrand and Sarah Ellis, Kelly Cahoon and Bernice Oyagak.
BARROW, Alaska -- A remote outpost on Alaska's Arctic Coast where people are used to doing their own thing has applied that independent streak to gay marriage. A magistrate in Barrow, Alaska - the nation's northernmost community, and one that cannot be reached by road, has performed what is believed [...]

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Scotland’s marriage equality law to come into effect on New Year’s Eve

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Scotland
Same-sex couples in Scotland will be able to plan New Year's Eve weddings, the date the country's marriage equality law comes into effect. Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry beginning December 31, and couples in an existing civil partnership will also [...]

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Judge denies stay, allows same-sex marriages to go forward in Alaska

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Alaska-sign
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A federal court judge has denied a request from the state of Alaska to put same-sex marriages on hold until an appeal is heard. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess denied the state's request for a stay on Tuesday, two days after he struck down the state's [...]

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Las Vegas visitors bureau celebrates marriage equality with national campaign

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Vegas-gay-marriage-ads
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is celebrating marriage equality in Nevada, with a new full page ad appearing in USA Today, hoping to attract same-sex couples to the self-proclaimed “wedding capital of the world.” [...]

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