Mormon church will continue to work with Boy Scouts

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church announced Oct. 26 it will maintain its longtime affiliation with the Boy Scouts despite the organization’s decision to allow gay troop leaders — preventing what would have been a thundering blow to the national association.

The decision from senior leaders of the Mormon church — the nation’s largest sponsor of Boy Scout units — came as somewhat of a surprise. The church said it was deeply troubled and considering other options when the Boy Scouts announced on July 28 that it would lift its ban on gay adult leaders, while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults.

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Marriage equality is here, there and everywhere

By : Billy Manes
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By now everyone is aware that marriage equality flew over the top of that odd equator of middling mob rule and into reality. On Friday, June 26, nine people—the nine people that make up the third arm of national governance—ruled 5-4 that gay and lesbian couples in this country are allowed to marry. The split was a little closer than expected. Some thought Chief Justice John Roberts might sway on the issue (he didn’t); most believed Justice Anthony Kennedy would (he did). Still, it was a tight decision and a reason to finally exhale.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Florida on Jan. 6 of this year. But it was cold comfort to the other 30 percent of United States residents whose states were not supporting equality for all. There was the potential for it to be terrible.

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Nebraska judge adjourns same-sex marriage hearing, no decision until next week

By : Wire Report
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge will be asked Feb. 19 to tell the state of Nebraska that it immediately must recognize same-sex marriages while a lawsuit challenging the state’s gay marriage ban proceeds.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said there likely won’t be a decision Feb. 19, but he will act swiftly. The judge said he hasn’t seen a courtroom this full in a while.

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Alabama counties slowly following marriage laws, but a majority still refusing federal ruling

By : Staff Report
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Only 23 of Alabama’s 67 counties have followed a federal ruling declaring a ban on same-sex marriages there unconstitutional. That means 44 counties—which encompasses 56% of Alabamians—have refused to follow federal law. According to the HRC, 16 counties have refused to follow the ruling and have only given marriage licenses to opposite-gender couples. Twenty-eight counties have decided not to issue marriage licenses to any couples at all.

“Alabama’s probate judges are tasked with following the law,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC’s Legal Director. “Unfortunately, some judges are willfully disobeying a federal court order, and harming loving, committed couples of all kinds in the process. It’s time for order to be restored and for the law to be followed.”

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Appeals court won’t re-hear Nevada, Idaho same-sex marriage cases

By : Wire Report
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal appeals court in San Francisco won’t re-hear a decision by a three-judge panel allowing same-sex marriages in Nevada.

Attorney Peter Renn of the gay rights advocacy group Lambda Legal welcomed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals order.

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Supreme Court lifts hold on gay marriage in Kansas

By : Wire Report
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 said same-sex marriages can go ahead in Kansas in a decision that the state insists applies to only two counties.

Separately on Nov. 12, a federal judge struck down South Carolina’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

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SC seeks dismissal of same-sex marriage challenge

By : Wire Report
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s attorney general is asking a federal judge to toss out a challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban.

Attorney General Alan Wilson argues in court documents filed Nov. 10 that a federal case brought by a same-sex couple in Charleston should be dismissed. He cites last week’s federal appeals court decision upholding such bans in other states.

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A look at how same-sex marriage is unfolding in 11 states

By : Wire Report
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The Supreme Court on Oct. 6 denied appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin in which those states sought to prohibit same-sex marriage. The decision also means couples in six other states—Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming—should be able to get married soon.

The development effectively raises the number of states with legal same-sex marriage from 19 to 30—a majority of U.S. states—and means that as many as 60% of Americans will be living in states that have legalized the practice.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the 11 states affected by the Supreme Court’s denial:

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Publisher’s Perspective: Time to Pass the Baton

By : Tom Dyer
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TomDyerHeadshotI’ve commandeered this space to share that this will be my last issue as Watermark’s publisher. Going forward, former chief financial officer Rick Claggett will oversee newspaper operations.

It’s a selfish decision on my part. For the last 20 years, I’ve operated a busy law practice and a deadline-driven newspaper. Shifting gears throughout the day—with each meeting, appointment, phone call and email—is taxing. I’m used to it, but the newspaper—and the vibrant local LGBT community—deserves a focused, full-time publisher.

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Florida Supreme Court agrees to hear marriage equality arguments

By : Wire Report
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[CORRECTION! This story erroneously reported that the Florida Supreme Court had agreed to take on the same-sex marriage case, when in fact, at the time the story was published, the Florida Supreme Court had only been asked to rule on the case. A corrected version of the story can be found here. We apologize for the error. –Editor]

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments against the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, the Orlando Sentinel reported Aug. 27.

In an unusual decision, the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on Aug. 27 asked the Florida Supreme Court to settle the question due to “great public importance.”  The decision could result in having the issue settled even before the US Supreme Court acts.

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‘Decision Day’ gatherings planned across Florida to celebrate ruling on marriage equality

By : Christal Hayes
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Florida’s LGBT community and supporters are still waiting for the ruling that could change their lives.

A lawsuit was filed back in January by six same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute in the state courts of Miami, stating that Amendment 2 in the Florida Constitution banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Miami Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel heard arguments in that case July 2 and has yet to issue a ruling.

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NOM fined $50K, ordered to reveal donors

By : Wire Report
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Augusta (AP) – Maine’s ethics panel fined a national anti-gay marriage group more than $50,000 on Wednesday and ordered it to reveal the donors who backed its efforts to repeal the state’s gay marriage law.

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices found that the National Organization for Marriage violated campaign finance laws by failing to properly register as a ballot question committee and file financial reports in the 2009 referendum that struck down gay marriage. Same-sex unions were legalized by voters in 2012.

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