Speed Read: 55 years together
ARIZONA ARCHETYPE: Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Phoenix for seven couples challenging the state’s constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex couples marrying. The lead plaintiffs in Majors v. Horne, Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey of Scottsdale, are in their seventies and have been together for 55 years. Noting that Arizona does not offer same-sex couples even the options of civil unions or domestic partnerships, Lambda Senior Counsel Jennifer Pizer said the ban leaves same-sex couples and their children with “the uncertainty that their families and relationships [have] even basic protections.”
INDIANA TAKE TWO: Lambda Legal also filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Indianapolis, the second such lawsuit this week to challenge that state’s statutory ban on same-sex couples marrying. Lambda’s lawsuit, Baskin v. Bogan, was filed on behalf of three lesbian couples. A lawsuit filed in New Albany Monday, by the attorney who recently won a marriage lawsuit in Kentucky, is being pressed on behalf of four couples.
ACLU SUES FLORIDA: The ACLU filed a new lawsuit in federal court in Tallahassee Wednesday to challenge Florida’s ban on recognition of marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples elsewhere. Like other lawsuits challenging such bans, the Florida-ACLU lawsuit, Grimsley v. Scott, argues the refusal to recognize valid marriage licenses issued by other states denies same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the law.
MINORITY KEEPS THE ASSETS: The Montana Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the members of a church who stayed with the church had the right to the church’s property and assets following a dispute over allowing gay clergy. In the case, New Hope v. Faith Lutheran, 71 percent of the Faith Lutheran Church in Great Falls, Montana, broke their affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church over the gay clergy issue, but the majority wanted the Great Falls property. The state supreme court said it was simply interpreting the denomination’s policy requiring a 90 percent majority to claim property.
U.S. FUNDS TO UGANDA SUSPENDED: A Ugandan newspaper reported Thursday that the United States has suspended funding for AIDS-related programs and treatment because of the U.S.’s objections to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act. A report in the Daily Monitor newspaper said that the Ugandan Ministry of Health Secretary said Wednesday the halt in funding has required the program to lay off 87 health workers.
DEMOCRATS MOCK DeMAIO: He’s openly gay and running for Congress from San Diego, but the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund recently declined to endorse his candidacy and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ad mocking him. The Victory Fund has not offered an explanation for why it chose not to back Republican San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, but the DCCC ad suggests DeMaio may not be as strong on LGBT related issues as one might expect. The ad appears to quote DeMaio saying, “When I say gay rights, I don’t mean actual rights.” It appears to be riffing off of a DeMaio campaign ad released last week, quoting DeMaio as saying, “When I say no special exemptions for Congress, I. Mean. It.”