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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Arkansas Catholic diocese wants to enter same-sex marriage suit

Friday, September 26, 2014
Bishop Anthony Taylor
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The leader of Arkansas' Roman Catholic diocese wants the state's highest court to consider his thoughts on the voter-approved same-sex marriage ban. Anthony Taylor, the bishop of Little Rock, asked the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday to accept a friend of the court brief that argues [...]

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Judge hears arguments in challenge to Missouri same-sex marriage ban

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Same-sex couples, plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the state of Missouri, foreground, watch as Anthony Rothert, an attorney representing them, argues before Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs during a hearing on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri doesn't allow first cousins to legally marry, but recognizes such marriages if they were legally performed in other states. The same goes for couples who were too young to wed in Missouri but were allowed to do so elsewhere. An attorney for 10 same-sex couples [...]

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ACLU seeks to file brief in Mississippi same-sex couple’s divorce case

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. -- The American Civil Liberties Union wants to file a brief in support of a woman who wants the state of Mississippi to recognize her same-sex marriage in order to grant a divorce. The Mississippi Supreme Court has not ruled on the motion filed Thursday. It's unclear if [...]

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Ark. justice recused from gay marriage case accused of improper exchange

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Cliff-Hoofman
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- An Arkansas Supreme Court justice has been accused of having an inappropriate conversation with a state lawmaker about an issue set to go before the court. The state's judicial oversight committee said it's investigating a complaint against Justice Cliff Hoofman... [...]

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White House: Eric Holder resigning as U.S. Attorney General

Thursday, September 25, 2014
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
WASHINGTON -- Eric Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration's legal fight against terrorism and pushed to make the criminal justice system more even-handed, is resigning after six years on the job. He is the nation's first black attorney general. [...]

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Oral arguments to begin in Missouri same-sex marriage challenge

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Missouri
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City judge is scheduled to hear oral arguments Thursday in a case challenging Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court, filed by 10 same-sex couples who were legally married elsewhere, mirrors dozens of others [...]

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Columbia, S.C., mayor becomes 500th to join marriage equality coalition

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Steve Benjamin
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., has signed on to Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, becoming the 500th U.S. mayor to join the nationwide effort of municipal leaders advocating for marriage equality. [...]

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Same-sex marriage ruling heading to Louisiana Supreme Court

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Louisiana Supreme Court building in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS — One day after a Lafayette Parish judge declared Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the state’s top lawyer announced plans to challenge that decision before the state Supreme Court. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s Office will ask the high court to overturn Judge Edward Rubin’s ruling, spokeswoman Laura [...]

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Rights of same-sex military spouses still vary by state

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Jessica Huskey
Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act ensured that federal military benefits extend to same-sex partners and their children. But about two-thirds of active-duty personnel in the U.S. are based in states that don't recognize gay marriages, leaving thousands of military families missing [...]

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U.S. Supreme Court: Which case makes the best case for marriage equality?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of landmark rulings, one striking down a law that denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages and the other clearing the way for gay couples to wed legally in California.
The U.S. Supreme Court could announce as early as Tuesday (September 30) which marriage equality case – or cases — it will accept for review this session. But, while the Court has seven marriage equality cases to choose from during its private working conference Monday (September 29), it may not [...]

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