Speed Read: Monday 11 November 2013
1- SHOOTING OUT OF CONTEXT: As expected, a photographer in New Mexico has appealed a case to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the right to refuse service to a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony. ” In Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock, Elaine Huguenin says her religious beliefs –that marriage is between only one man and one woman— compel her to refuse providing her photography service to same-sex weddings. In its petition, the Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing Huguenin, argues that Huguein does “not turn away any customers because of their protected-class status” but because “the context” of the customers would require her “to express messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”
2- SEVENTEEN VOTES IN VIRGINIA: Attorneys pressing the two marriage equality lawsuits in Virginia must be watching the vote count in that state’s attorney general race very carefully. As of Sunday night, Democrat Mark Herring, who supports marriage equality, is 17 votes behind Republican Mark Obenshain, who does not. More than 2.2 million votes were cast in the race last Tuesday.
3- HAWAII OVERTAKES ILLINOIS: The Hawaii Senate is expected to give quick approval Tuesday to the House version of the marriage equality bill. Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie has said he would sign the bill right away and it is due to be enacted on December 2. That will make Hawaii –not Illinois—the 15th state to enact marriage equality. The Illinois legislature cleared its bill November 5, but the governor will not sign the bill until November 20, and its effective date is June 1.
4- ILLINOIS GAMBLE: A behind-the-scenes glimpse into decision-making around the Illinois marriage equality bill found that supporters were still one or two votes short when they decided to call the bill to the House floor last Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, the office of Democratic Governor Pat Quinn announced he will sign the measure in a ceremony Wednesday, November 20. Unless an effort in January is able to move up the enactment date, the new law is scheduled to take effect June 1.
5- LAWSUITS LINGER: Lambda Legal and the ACLU will be in court Thursday to talk about when and whether to withdraw their marriage equality lawsuits in Illinois, but Lambda says it won’t drop its suit until the new marriage equality law is enacted. “The case is not moot and does not warrant dismissal until the effective date of SB10, as same-sex couples currently are still not able to marry in Illinois,” said Lambda Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor. “We’ve agreed to a temporary stay while we discuss the status of the legislation and the case with our clients. The court’s order only stayed the Illinois marriage cases until Thursday of next week. The cases will not be moot until same-sex couples actually can marry in the state.”
6- NEW LAWSUIT IN IDAHO: Four female couples in Idaho have filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging that state’s ban on allowing same-sex couples to marry. Latta v. Otter, led by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is one of more than 30 lawsuits in 24 states, challenging state bans on marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Two of the couples were married in other states. Idaho Governor C.L. Otter has vowed to defend the state ban, telling Boise State Radio that he considers this a matter of state sovereignty.