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Posts tagged ‘Civil union’

Gay Marriage Battle Heats Up in New Jersey.

Gov. Christie
While the legal dispute continues, gay marriage advocates are pursuing a legislative remedy, pressing state lawmakers to override Gov. Christie’s veto of the bill that would have legalized gay marriage.

New Jersey must immediately allow same-sex marriages now that the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, lawyers for gay-marriage advocates argued before a state judge on Thursday.

The arguments come in the first case to test whether the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn theDefense of Marriage Act forces states to reconsider laws that restrict gay marriage, a dispute that could play out in courthouses across the country.

Judge Mary Jacobson, hearing the arguments in Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton, said she would not rule until September at the earliest.

Lawyers representing Governor Chris Christie, who vetoed same-sex marriage legislation last year, told Jacobson that the litigation is premature because the full effect of the Supreme Court’s decision is not yet known.

Following the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in U.S. v Windsor, advocates of same-sex marriage filed court papers in a dozen states, arguing that the legal landscape had changed and that certain state laws prohibiting gay marriage could no longer withstand scrutiny.

In a 5-4 ruling, Supreme Court found that DOMA violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by denying gay married couples tax breaks and other federal benefits available to married heterosexuals.

Thursday’s hearing was the latest skirmish in a legal battle that began in New Jersey more than a decade ago.

In 2006, New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights as heterosexual married couples. That decision led the state legislature to pass a civil unions law meant to grant same-sex couples equal rights.

Lawyers for Garden State Equality, a gay rights advocacy group, told the judge on Thursday that the Supreme Court’s decision applied only to marriages, not to civil unions.

As a result, they argued, the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage results in unequal treatment, in violation of the state Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling, since those couples will not access to federal benefits available to married heterosexual couples.

Federal benefits depend on marriage,” said Garden State Equality attorney Lawrence Lustberg. “After Windsor, that is true whether the couples are of the same sex or different. That is what Windsor changed.”

Kevin Jespersen of the New Jersey Attorney General’s office said the burden is on federal agencies to respect the state’s civil union law and confer the same benefits to same-sex couples. If that is not happening, the plaintiffs’ quarrel is with the federal government, not New Jersey, he said.

“The New Jersey constitution cannot create a state remedy for the federal government acting under federal law,” Jespersen said.

But Lustberg said that argument is misplaced.

“This case is about state action,” he said. “It is the state, not the federal government, that is the source of the problem here.”

The government also questioned whether the request for an immediate ruling was premature, given that federal agencies are still determining how to apply the DOMA decision to benefits.

“When you step into a very fast-moving stream, the footing is very uncertain,” Jespersen said.

Lustberg, in response, cited several federal departments that have already said they will honor same-sex marriages, but not civil unions, when evaluating eligibility for benefits.

While the legal dispute continues, gay marriage advocates are pursuing a legislative remedy, pressing state lawmakers to override Christie’s veto of the bill that would have legalized gay marriage.

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.



BBC Airing Kids’ Reality TV Show on Same-Sex Marriage.

The BBC will broadcast a reality-style children’s program on a gay couple preparing for their civil partnership ceremony. (Ell Brown)

The BBC will broadcast a reality-style children’s program on a gay couple preparing for their civil partnership ceremony.

The show has been renamed for the edition and will be called Marrying Dad and Dad instead of Marrying Mum and Dad.

The format of the series involves the couple’s children organizing the day as a surprise, and this episode will show the same-sex couple’s children putting together a James Bond-themed day.

Monday’s show, aired on the CBBC channel, featured Mark and Paul, who were the first same-sex couple to adopt children on the island of Jersey.

In January, a BBC report recommended children be introduced to homosexuality from an early age on TV.

The report said “incidental portrayal” of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people should be incorporated within programming aimed at children.

In interviews with homosexual and bisexual organizations, the BBC heard it should be “validating children who are going through their formative years and who may be LGB.”

The BBC said it would “target commissioners and editors in particular” with the report’s findings.

In 2010, a report commissioned by the BBC said homosexuals and bisexuals should be portrayed more frequently and authentically in its output.



Hatch Supports Civil Unions With Rights of ‘Traditional Marriage’.

By Courtney Coren

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he supports the idea of civil unions with rights for same-sex couples, but still believes in “traditional marriage” for heterosexual couples “as the basis of marital law in our country.”

“I’ll say this, I do believe this could be solved greatly by a civil union law that would give gay people the same rights as married people,” the Utah Republican reportedly said during a recent interview with KVNU Radio. “I think we could solve this problem without undermining the very basis of marital law in our country.”

Current state civil union laws do not give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, including hospital visitation rights, tax benefits, immigration rights, or Social Security benefits.

Hatch said he worries that legalizing gay marriage could result in “every Tom, Dick, and Harry in there with some crazy marital scheme demanding the same rights and the same privileges.”

Hatch also reportedly told the radio station he does not believe individuals choose to be gay, but he still “draw[s] the line on traditional marriage,” the Huffington Post reported.

Hatch did not support 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s proposal for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, believing the issue should be left up to individual states.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Holland Discusses ‘Group Marriage’ as Next Step.

Boris Dittrich
Boris Dittrich, a former Dutch politician, was behind the gay marriage campaign in Holland (Sebastiaan ter Burg / Flickr)

The politician who masterminded the gay marriage campaign in Holland says that “group marriage” is now being discussed in the country.

Boris Dittrich, a former Dutch politician, gave a video interview about how he successfully introduced gay marriage. He said, “There is now a discussion in the Netherlands that sometimes people want to marry with three people and maybe even more.

“But that’s the beginning of something completely new and that will take a lot of years I guess.”

Dittrich was speaking to a French gay news agency, and he revealed that he softened public opinion to gay marriage by first introducing registered partnerships.

He said, “We thought it might be psychologically better to first introduce registered partnerships.”

It was a good decision, he said, because people got used to legally recognized gay unions and called them gay marriages.

The next logical step was to introduce full gay marriage by law, he said. Now he admits there are discussions about marriage for more than two people.

Three-way relationships have already been recognized in Holland, under a “cohabitation agreement.”

In Brazil, a relationship of more than two people has been officially recognized.

In Canada, schools have been encouraged to display posters which promote the acceptance of polygamy.

In Australia, a campaign group has formed to push for legal rights for ‘polyamorous’ relationships.

In Britain, the government is planning to redefine marriage and critics warn it will cause marriage to unravel.


Illinois Legislators Warned About Same-Sex Marriage Act.

traditional marriage
The deceptively titled “Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” will actually strip away the meager religious liberty protections of the 2010 civil union law. (

State legislators of Illinois on Thursday were warned about the documented consequences of legalizingsame-sex marriage. The Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm focused on protecting constitutional rights, sent letters to each member of the Illinois General Assembly, encouraging them to oppose the “Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.”

The missive, signed by Thomas Brejcha, president and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society, and Peter Breen, executive director and Legal Counsel, advised the lawmakers that voting “yes” to the proposed same-sex marriage bill will harm, rather than support, constituents. If passed, explains the letter, the discriminatory act will declare Illinoisans who support traditional marriage to be bigoted and prejudicial. As in other states that have passed this type of legislation, public children as young as kindergarten may be taught about same-sex sexual activity, and parents who disapprove will have no right to opt their children out.

The Thomas More Society communique points out that the deceptively titled “Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” will actually strip away the meager religious liberty protections of the 2010 civil union law. The current law allows faith-based adoption agencies, hospitals, and schools to follow their deeply held convictions in regard to employment, facilities rental, and other decisions. Under the proposed act, threat of being charged with Illinois Human Rights Act violations will unconstitutionally coerce acceptance of same-sex unions.

The only documented benefit to Illinois’ same-sex couples, assert Brejcha and Breen, would be a change in wording from “civil union license” to “marriage license,” a vanity not worth the disenfranchisement of large segments of the state’s population. The current law already provides same-sex couples the rights of married couples.

They contend that the proposed act will do great harm to the religious liberty all Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. Rather than promote civic tolerance, the “Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” will legalize intolerance.

Click to read the full Thomas More Society letter to the members of the Illinois General Assembly.


Civil Unions Bill Dies in Colo., Traditional Marriage Wins in NC.

civil unions colorado
A man checks his mobile phone as civil unions supporters rally in downtown Denver before the Colorado House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Colorado Civil Union Act in Denver May 3, 2012. The bill passed the Colorado Senate last week. (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

In back-to-back victories in the culture war on traditional marriage, Colorado’s civil union bill died in the Colorado House on Tuesday and North Carolina voters decided to uphold the biblical one woman-one man marriage definition.

By a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent, North Carolinians voted to become the 31st state to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, applauded North Carolina voters for joining voters in 30 other states in upholding the historic and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“At every opportunity, the American people have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the unique benefits that marriage between a man and a woman brings to families and society,” Perkins says. “They recognize that marriage is the only kind of union that results in natural procreation and keeps a mother and father together to raise the children produced by their union.”

As Perkins sees it, this overwhelming support for marriage is the reason why President Obama and liberal congressional candidates across the country have not expressed open support for same-sex marriage.

“Despite the relentless lawsuits and attempts to marginalize supporters of traditional marriage, a clear majority of the American people have not given up on standing in support of marriage—but instead the evidence suggests they want to see it strengthened and preserved for future generations,” says Perkins.

Brian Raum, senior counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, also applauded the people of North Carolina who’ve followed in the footsteps of diverse cultures and faiths, throughout history and across the globe, in upholding marriage as the ideal.

“Once again we see that Americans are married to marriage, the fundamental building block of a healthy, thriving society,” Raum says. “The people of North Carolina, like 30 states before them, recognized that marriage should be strengthened and protected from legal attacks.”


By Jennifer LeClaire.

NJ Judge Wants Ministry to Allow Lesbian Civil Union Ceremony.

civil unions
(Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)

The U.S. Supreme Court gave Christians a victory this week when it ruled that churches could select its own ministers. But churches in New Jersey are facing a new challenge.

A New Jersey administrative law judge on Thursday recommended that the state’s Division on Civil Rights find the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in violation of a state nondiscrimination law.

Specifically, the judge concluded that the ministry violated the law when it declined to allow two women to hold a “civil union” ceremony at its beachside pavilion, one of the ministry’s privately owned places of worship.

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys representing the ministry say they are considering their next steps in the case and argue that the ministry is simply exercising its constitutionally protected right to use its private property in a way that is consistent with its religious beliefs.

“The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs,” says ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jim Campbell. “Religious groups have the right to use their private property in a way that is consistent with their beliefs.

That right, protected by both the New Jersey and U.S. constitutions, obviously trumps any law enacted by the state’s legislature.”

A judge with the State of New Jersey Office of Administrative Law issued the ruling in Bernstein v. Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. The director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights can adopt, modify or reject the ruling within 45 days. If the director doesn’t act, the ruling becomes final at that time.


Illinois Bed and Breakfast Answers Gay Discrimination Claims.

TimberCreek Bed & BreakfastTimberCreek Bed & Breakfast

A central Illinois bed and breakfast is fighting for the right not to host “civil unions” at its facilities. TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast has responded to complaints filed against it with the state’s Human Rights Commission.

Here’s the back story: Mark and Todd Wathen filed the complaints after TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast told them that it does not host “civil union” ceremonies, but only weddings, on its premises.

“No business owner may be forced to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs merely because someone demands it,” says Steve Amjad, one of more than 2,100 attorneys in the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) alliance. “Constitutional and state laws guarantee religious freedom for every American, including business owners. These complaints ignore those fundamental freedoms and are further examples of the threat the homosexual legal agenda poses to every American’s basic rights.”

The answers filed with the commission in response to the complaints assert that “TimberCreek did not engage in sexual-orientation discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act” and that applying specific portions of the act to this situation would actually violate the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, federal law, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“TimberCreek does not host civil union ceremonies for same-sex or opposite-sex couples, so the discrimination charge is baseless,” says ADF Senior Counsel Bryan Beauman. “TimberCreek has done nothing wrong, and their right to freely exercise their faith should not be threatened.”

The complaints are listed as Mark Wathen v. TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast and Todd Wathen v. TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast.

By Charisma News Staff.

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