Compiled by Dawn Wolfe from the AP wire
Louisiana: The state Senate voted 31-6 on June 9 to place a ban on equal marriage rights and civil unions into the state constitution, a proposal that will go to the voters this fall. Still in question is the date of the election. As it came out of the Senate, the measure calls for an election date of Sept. 18. The House sponsor wanted a Nov. 2 date, coinciding with the presidential election and his own race for Congress. It takes a two-thirds vote for the House to approve any Senate changes. The election date has been the only major subject of disagreement, as both houses passed similar versions of the bill with well more than the two-thirds vote required in each chamber.
Massachusetts: Opponents of equal marriage rights are asking a federal appeals court to stop the marriage of same-sex couples in Massachusetts. A coalition of conservative groups and lawmakers argued their case before the First US Circuit Court of Appeals June 10 claiming the state’s high court took away the power of the people when it legalized equal marriage rights. They claim only elected officials have the right to define marriage. The state’s Assistant Attorney General defended the Supreme Court’s historic ruling, saying the issue shouldn’t even be in federal court because it involves a question of the state’s constitution. The same group sought an injunction prior to the start of marriages between same-sex couples on May 17, but were turned down by a federal judge. The federal appeals court also turned down the injunction initially, but agreed to a full hearing on the challenge. The panel of judges did not immediately rule on the request.
New Mexico: On June 10, a state judge denied a motion by the Sandoval County Clerk to dismiss a temporary restraining order against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Under the procedures set by the judge, the clerk has 30 days to respond to the attorney general’s complaint against her. After that, the two sides and any other parties that join the lawsuit will enter court-ordered mediation. The attorney general contends it is not within the power of a county clerk to interpret or make state law.
New York: The New Paltz mayor was barred June 7 from marrying same-sex couples, after a New York judge ruled that it was up to the Legislature or the courts to decide the issue. The mayor entered the national debate about equal marriage rights when he performed marriages for same-sex couples Feb. 27.
On June 10, another judge dismissed criminal charges against the New Paltz mayor for marrying gay couples, saying the state failed to show it has a legitimate interest in banning the weddings. The New Paltz Town Court Justice also ruled that prosecutors failed to prove the law the mayor was charged with violating was constitutional. The mayor had faced the possibility of fines or up to a year in jail for presiding at the weddings of more than two dozen same-sex couples on Feb. 27. The mayor remains barred from marrying same-sex couples under an order issued earlier this week by another judge. The Ulster County District Attorney said he disagreed with the ruling and would appeal.
Oregon: A recall petition drive has failed against two county commissioners who approved marriage licenses for same-sex couples in March. The commissioners both said they were relieved the petition drive led by the Christian Coalition missed the Monday deadline to submit the 37,000 signatures needed to place the recall on the ballot. On March 3, four Multnomah County commissioners met privately and decided, with no public hearings, that the county would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They made the decision after a legal review determined it was unconstitutional to deny issuing licenses to same-sex couples.