Marriage Equality News

 

  • We bring an attention to encourage people to call those states governors to veto or stop proposed anti-LGBT legislation

The governor of the US state of Arizona should veto a bill that would allow business services to be refused to same-sex couples and permit a “religious belief” defense in discrimination suits brought by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. If this law is passed, this would be the  first in the United States that would permit businesses to refuse services to LGBT people based on a person’s “sincerely held religious belief,” Human Rights Watch said. The proposed Arizona law is similar to measures seeking to permit discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds that have recently been introduced in several other US states, including Kansas, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. However, Arizona’s state legislature is the only one to have approved such a measure. “The proposed Arizona law not only threatens LGBT people, it threatens 50 years of US civil rights protections that require businesses to serve everyone equally,” .

  • Marriage equality has officially infiltrated the deep South                                                                                                                                                                  

Texas has now  join the 17th states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday February 27th , in allowing gay couples to legally marry, after a federal judge struck down the state’s nine-year-old amendment banning same-sex nuptials. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, an appointee of President Clinton, issued a preliminary injunction on the ban, then suspended his ruling, meaning gay couples won’t be able to marry in Texas until the case is heard by the US Supreme Court. Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, one of the honorary co-chairs of the Southerners for the Freedom to Marry campaign, released a statement ruling: “Today is a triumphant day for equality in Texas. The federal court in San Antonio reaffirmed what we’ve believed all along, that in the United States of America equality and freedom are not dependent on the color of your skin, the origin of your last name, or the person you love. I welcome today’s affirmation of our nation’s fundamental values and I look forward to seeing Texas, as well as more states across our country, continue to make progress.”

  • Full Coverage: Gay marriage in the Supreme Court

These privileges will be extended to same-sex couples even in states that do not recognize their marriages as long as they were legally married in another state.

“While the immediate effect is that all gay married couples will be treated equally under the law, the long-term effects are more profound,” said Fred Saintz, vice president for communications at the Human Rights Campaign, which Holder will address Saturday night. “Today, our nation moves closer toward its ideals of equality and fairness for all.”   According to Holder’s prepared remarks, this coverage will allow same-sex couples to:

*Be eligible to file jointly for bankruptcy and receive the same protections in Bankruptcy court as other married couples.

*Married same-sex couples in federal prisons will receive the same visitation privileges as other married inmates.

 

  • Pressure Builds on Democratic Attorneys General to Quit Fighting Gay Marriage.

Attorney General Mark Herring has concluded that the state of Virginia’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and he will no longer defend it in federal lawsuits. Eight more attorneys  in other states could soon join him. When Mark Herring, the attorney general of Virginia announced on Wednesday that the states ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional and that he will not defend the law in court, he was hailed by marriage equality activists as a hero. There are currently eight states that have some kind of law against same-sex marriage on the books and have a Democrat as the chief lawyer sworn to uphold their states laws and constitution.

· Same-sex marriage status in the U.S.

Currently, 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow same-sex marriage, and 33 states have limitations on it.

  • 33 states limit marriage to opposite-sex couples
  • 17 states, and D.C., allow same-sex marriage
  • 10 states recognize unions and partner

 

  • What same-sex couples should know about taxes?

Since 2013, 18 states had legalized same sex marriages. For the first same-sex couples, they can file Federal Income Tax national wide as “married couple” status.  This is making it possible because the Federal government recognized their legal marital status and regardless whether or not their respective states legalized.

*State Income Taxes

However, those same sex married couple wont be able to file the same in states where same sex marriage is not legalized.  For those who live in states that have not legalized same sex marriage, then they must file separately as either partners or individual.  It all depends on their domicile or claim of residence or employment.   For more accurate information, they should all contact accountants who is familiar with the latest Federal & State Income tax rules and procedures.   IRS has a new policy stating that if you were legally married in any state or foreign country on the last day of 2013, you are married for tax purposes. The IRS does not consider domestic partnerships or civil unions to be marriages.

  • Houston Mayor is now married!

This past Thursday evening in a private ceremony in Palm Springs, California, Houston Mayor Annise Parker finally married  her 23-year partner Kathy Hubbard.  Both women chose their 23rd anniversary of their relationship, to get married by the Reverend Paul Fromberg of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church.  The couple was incapable to get married in Texas, because the state of Texas is one of 34 states that does not currently conduct same-sex marriages.  Parker, a Democrat, was first elected Mayor of Houston in 2009 and she has been re-elected twice, winning again in both 2011 and 2013.  Houston is the largest US city to have an openly gay or lesbian mayor, and Parker has made no secret of her sexual orientation.

  • Oklahoma’s State: Gay Marriage Is Unconstitutional.

This past Tuesday January 14 a federal Judge in Oklahoma ruled that states constitutional amendment of same-sex marriage is violating the federal Constitution, meaning that the state’s ban on same-sex couple is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit”, wrote Judge Terence C. Kern of United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, in Tulsa. Oklahoma gay couples will have to wait, because this decision will not take effect immediately, and there can be an appeal to it. Just like Utah many marriages are in limbo, we need to wait until an appeal by Oklahoma would proceed in tandem or on a slower schedule Over the past year, the number of states authorizing same-sex marriage, whether through legislation or court order, has grown to 17, or 18 if Utah is included.

  • Supreme Court puts Utah same-sex marriages on hold.

The Supreme Court put a stop to same-sex marriages in the  conservative state Utah this Monday Jan 6th 2014 while the state appeals a federal district court’s ruling that had legalized the unions. Since December 20th 2013 there has been more than 900 Same-Sex couples in this state that has been married and now their blocking the new marriages. “Though future marriages are on hold for now, the state should recognize as valid those marriages that have already been issued, and those couples should continue to be treated as married by the federal government,” John Mejia, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said.

  • Great news for one of the conservative state UTAH which passed  Same- Sex Marriage this Friday December 20th.

Dozens of same-sex couples lined up to get marriage licenses at the Salt Lake County clerk’s office, when this office started issuing  marriage licenses to same-sex couples and said that the district attorney authorized her office to begin issuing them.  This is the first time a federal court has declared a same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional since the Supreme Court decided the Windsor decision striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It’s also the first time it has happened in a red state (conservative state). Many similar challenges to same-sex marriage bans are pending in other states, but the Utah case has been closely watched because of the state’s history of staunch opposition to gay marriage as the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • New Mexico joins 16 states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage.

The New Mexico Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the state on December 19, 2013, declaring in a ruling that it is unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples. The court issued a unanimous decision in Griego v. Oliver holding that marriage licenses must be issued to couples without respect to gender.

  • Great news for the state of Hawaii

Hawaii has turn into the next wedding destination! The Hawaii state Senate has passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Legislators passed the bill this past Tuesday during a special session, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign it. This will allow thousands of same-sex couples living in Hawaii and even more tourists to marry in the state starting Dec. 2,2013

  • Illinois joins the list of states that allows same-sex marriage

After months of arduos work, finally this past Tuesday Nov. 5 Illinois set to be the 15th state to allow same sex marriage. Lawmakers passed a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage. The Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has vowed to sign this legislation, and by the month of June of next year many couples can now get married.  For more information please contact competent counselor.

  • New Jersey becomes the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage

Gov. Chris Christie has dropped his appeal to legalized same-sex marriages in New Jersey. His administration said today, it will drop its appeal. Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law. The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court, Chris Christie office said in a statement Monday.

On midnight New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage legal. Last night the mayor of Newark,NJ performed a ceremony for the same sex marriage couples. These couples can also begin to apply for marriage licenses in New Jersey. For more information please contact competent counselor.

  • Same-Sex Couples can Marry in New Jersey!

New Jersey Judge Mary C. Jacobson, said yesterday Friday September 27, that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry, because the rights given to them under the state’s civil unions law are not equal to federal benefits now granted to same sex couples. “The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts,” the judge said. Judge Jacobson did not require that same-sex marriages will begin immediately in New Jersey. However, she gave the State until Oct. 21 to either appeals or begins the process of allowing same sex marriages. One of Judge Jacobson reasoning was based on 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court holding that was to allow civil unions between same-sex couples and deny many federal benefits, particularly in health care decisions and financial matters is unconstitutional. The other Judge Jacobson rationing that US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) meant that the federal government must provide the same benefits to same sex married couples as it does to heterosexual married couples. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted in his opinion that the ruling was “confined” to legal marriages, and several federal agencies have since said that partners in civil unions would not be extended benefits, including those having to do with immigration, tax status and health care.  For more information please contact competent counselor.

  • Benefits for Department of Defense Employees and their Same-Sex Spouses

On August 14th, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that on September 3rd of this year it will begin offering spousal and family benefits to all married service members and their spouses with a valid marriage certificate, regardless of gender.   In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Defense Department stated in a news release that “the Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.”   In addition to eligibility for these benefits, servicemen and women stationed in states that do not allow same-sex marriage will be granted non-chargeable leave in order to travel to another jurisdiction to marry their same-sex partner.  For more information on benefits for Department of Defense employees, please visit www.defense.gov