Speed Read: New lawsuit filed in Arizona
UTAH BAN BACK IN FORCE: At leave five U.S. Supreme Court justices agreed yesterday to stay a federal district court’s December 20 order that Utah stop enforcing its ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Although the marriage licenses obtained by more than 900 same-sex couples between December 20 and yesterday remain intact, no further licenses will be issued until after a final appeal is resolved. Utah is due to file its first brief in its appeal to the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals January 27, and the argument date is likely to be scheduled sometime between March 17 and 21. Whatever the result, the decision will likely be appealed by the losing side, first to the full Tenth Circuit and then to the U.S. Supreme Court. Herbert v. Kitchen is one of many lawsuits winding their way through the federal court system to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a ruling on whether state bans of same-sex marriage are constitutional. Read full story.
ANOTHER ARIZONA SUIT: Four same-sex couples in Arizona filed a class action lawsuit in federal court Monday, seeking to declare that state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. There is already a class action suit pending in federal court in Phoenix, seeking equal benefits for gay state employees and their spouses. The new marriage lawsuit is now one of 33 lawsuits in 23 states seeking to strike down bans on marriage for same-sex couples.
MICHAUD PICKS UP MORE SUPPORT: Maine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud picked up two more important endorsements yesterday. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fun announced it was endorsing openly gay U.S. Rep. Michaud because he is “uniquely qualified” to be governor and is a “strong supporter of LGBT issues.” Long-time openly gay Maine elected official Dale McCormick sent out a fundraising solicitation, saying Michaud has been “been in the trenches fighting for issues that matter to LGBT people and progressive communities for years.” McCormick served in the Maine State Senate with Michaud.
PITTSBURGH PROMOTION: Pittsburgh City Council voted 7 to 2 Monday to make its first openly gay elected official its first openly gay City Council president. Bruce Kraus, 59, who has been on the nine-member Council since 2008, sponsored a bill last year to require city contractors to provide benefits to the domestic partners of their gay employees.
CHENEY DROPPING OUT: Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz announced Monday she was dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from Wyoming, currently held by Republican Mike Enzi. Liz Cheney issued a statement, saying, “Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign.” NBC News reported the health issues concern her children. The Casper Star Tribune reported that one of her five children has diabetes. Cheney, an opponent of same-sex marriage, is the sister of openly gay Republican activist Mary Cheney, who is married to a woman.
DEMOCRATIC VETERAN DIES: Former executive director of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Democratic Clubs –precursor to the now defunct national Stonewall Democrats– Tom Chorlton died Sunday, January 5, following a long struggle with leukemia. According to a statement released by friends, Chorlton, 67, was living in Charleston, SC, where he was professor of American History and LGBT Studies at the College of Charleston.