Speed Read: Utah heading to Supremes
UTAH HEADING TO SUPREME COURT NEXT: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued a statement late Wednesday saying his office intends to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the Tenth Circuit panel decision striking down the state’s marriage ban for same-sex couples.
BOULDER KEEPS ROLLING: Boulder, Colorado, continued issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday, even after the state attorney general said the licenses are invalid.
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ST. LOUIS BEGINS ISSUING LICENSES: In a move reminiscent of former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004, officials in St. Louis, Missouri, on Wednesday issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples, in open defiance of the state’s marriage ban for same-sex couples. The ceremony for the first couple was held in Mayor Francis Slay’s office, officiated by Municipal Judge Joseph Murphy. City officials said they would use the marriages to launch a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban, according to the St. Louis Dispatch. Meanwhile, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster launched a counteroffensive, filing a lawsuit Thursday against a St. Louis County official who granted the marriage licenses.
WITHOUT A STAY, INDIANA MARRIES MORE: Federal Judge Richard Young has still not responded to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s motion for an emergency stay of the June 25 ruling striking the state’s marriage ban for same-sex couples. The Indianapolis Star reported another 200 couples married in Indianapolis Thursday, along with more than 100 in other counties. Zoeller on Thursday filed an appeal with the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
RECESS APPOINTMENT CURTAILED: The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision Thursday that narrows the opportunities for a president to make a recess appointment. Recess appointments have been a means for some presidents to get controversial nominees into office and have them confirmed later. President Clinton used a recess appointment to install gay philanthropist James Hormel as the U.S.’s first openly gay ambassador. President Obama used them twice for gay appointees in 2010 –Chai Feldblum as EEOC Commissioner and Richard Sorian as HHS Assistant Secretary. The high court’s decision, in NLRB v. Noel Canning, limits recess appointments to times when the Senate is in recess for at least 10 days. The decision was unanimous and written by Justice Stephen Breyer.
BUFFER ZONE STRUCK DOWN: The Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights submitted a brief in support of a Massachusetts law that attempted to protect women seeking abortions by creating a 35-foot setback or “buffer zone” for anti-abortion protests outside such facilities. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday said such buffer zones violate the First Amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the opinion, McCullen v. Coakley, noting that public sidewalks are the “traditional public fora” for “assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions” and “government may not ‘selectively…shield the public from some kinds of speech on the ground that they are more offensive than others.’” Roberts’ decision characterized protesters as seeking to hand out literature and to make offers of help to women entering the clinics. But the brief from GLAD, NGLTF, and NCLR noted the buffer zones are not to stifle expression but to protect the safety of women. “Women should be free to seek comprehensive medical care—including birth control and abortion—without the fear of harassment and violence from protesters,” said NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey.