Michigan AG urges justices to uphold gay nuptials ban and Indiana governor says he wants to ‘fix’ religion law

By Junior Mayema,

While we’re still waiting for the USA Supreme court which is the number 1 highest court of this beautiful land to have the last word on state sponsored human rights violations against LGBT people April 28 here  are two articles about the recent developments so far :


Michigan AG urges justices to uphold gay nuptials ban

Washington — Michigan wants the U.S. Supreme Court to leave it to the states how to define marriage, urging the justices to uphold the state’s ban on gay nuptials and deny a constitutional right to marry.

In a brief filed Friday, attorneys for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office said the federal judiciary lacks the authority to override the democratic process as exercised by Michigan voters who approved the state’s ban in a 2004 referendum.

“This case is not about the best definition of marriage or any stereotypes about families. Families come in all types, and parents of all types — married or single, gay or straight — love their children,” the attorneys write.

“This case is about whether the Fourteenth Amendment imposes a single marriage view on all states, such that the people have no right to decide. It does not.”

The lawyers said it would be “stranger still” to hold that the marriage “system” in existence for thousands of years is unconstitutional.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park have asked the high court to do exactly that. They argue that Michigan’s ban on gay marriage harms their children. A reply to the state’s brief by the couple’s lawyers is expected by April 17.

The justices are scheduled to hear two-and-a-half hours of oral arguments on April 28 testing same-sex marriage restrictions in Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

A year ago, Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman found Michigan’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional because it violated equal protection rights. A three-judge panel on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals last fall upheld bans in those states.

Michigan in its brief said differing views on gay marriage are not that one side promotes equality, justice and tolerance, while the other endorses the opposite. The differences are “simply different conceptions of what role the institution should play in our society.”

The state maintains that, because the Constitution is silent on how to define marriage, the issue falls to the people, who may exercise the democratic process through the ballot box at the state level.

In their brief, lawyers for Michigan quote Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion last year upholding Michigan’s constitutional amendment barring affirmative action: “It is ‘demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds,’” the attorneys wrote.

Kennedy is considered the swing vote on the nine-justice high court.

Friend of the court briefs supporting the restrictions on gay marriage are due Friday, although some have already filed. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told the justices that same-sex marriage destroys the “rights of children to be connected to their biological parents.”

The Supreme Court received more than 80 amicus curiae briefs supporting gay marriage by its filing deadline earlier this month.

Among the filers were 90 sitting and former public-office holders from around Michigan, and a coalition of 379 employers including Dow Chemical Co. and 20 other Michigan companies. High-profile Republicans including former Michigan Gov. William Milliken and former state Attorney General Mike Cox also joined an amicus brief supporting same-sex marriage.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said the state will recognize more than 300 gay marriages performed during a brief time when they were permitted in Michigan last year.


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And here is another one below :

Indiana governor says he wants to ‘fix’ religion law


Indiana governor says he wants to ‘fix’ religion law

Media captionIndiana residents say the law there has been an embarrassment

The governor of Indiana has said that he wants state lawmakers to “fix” a religious freedom law that has created a national outcry.

Critics of the law say it could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Governor Mike Pence said he wanted state lawmakers to add language to the law that clarifies its intentions, by the end of the week.

“This is a clarification, but it’s also a fix,” he said.

He stressed that the controversy was the result of a “perception problem” not lawmakers’ desire to discriminate.

Under the law, the state can only infringe on a person’s religious beliefs when it has a compelling interest, but it must do so in the least intrusive way possible. It defines “person” to included religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Pence is on the defensive

The governor, who signed the bill into law last week, went on the attack after a number of famous names, corporations and sporting institutions warned that business owners now had a licence to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Mr Pence said he “was proud to sign” the bill, but that he believes “it would be appropriate to make it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone”.

“I don’t support discrimination against gays or lesbians or anyone else. I abhor discrimination,” he said.


At the scene – Aleem Maqbool, BBC News, Indianapolis

“I could have handled it better,” said Governor Pence after what he admitted had been a “tough week”.

But with the humility came the insistence, time and again, that the backlash he had faced was because the media had misrepresented him and the law.

He insists that he did the right thing in signing the Religious Freedoms Act.

Those we have been speaking to on the streets of Indianapolis appeared to feel very differently, invariably saying they did not see the need for the bill and that they were embarrassed by the negative attention it had brought to the state and the damage it had done to Indiana’s reputation.


Gay rights groups are calling on Indiana lawmakers to update their civil rights laws to specifically include protections for gay and transgender people.

Mr Pence said he doesn’t support the extra protections and insisted that they are a separate issue.

“Fair-minded people across his state are demanding that those protections get on his agenda, immediately,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said.

Critics believe it provides a way for opponents of gay marriage, which became legal in Indiana last year, to continue their opposition by other means.

A chorus of criticism has been growing for nearly a week, and the backlash has made allies of Hillary Clinton and Miley Cyrus, and Angie’s List and Apple.

Front page of the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday 31 March 2015
The front page of the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday features a full page editorial

In recent days the governors of Connecticut, Washington state, and New York have banned state-funded travel to Indiana and other states that simultaneously have RFRA measures and no balancing law to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

“When it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck,” Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy told MSNBC’s Morning Joe programme explaining his decision. “They knew what they were doing and what they were doing was deciding that they were going to make it legal to refuse to serve gay men and women.”

On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Star ran a full, front page editorial calling on state leaders to enact protections for gays and transgendered people.

Many businesses across the state have posted placards and stickers saying they serve everyone, and the official tourism site for Indianapolis – the state’s capital – features a rainbow graphic and a “LGBT guide to Indy”.

Over the weekend, Mr Pence repeatedly refused to answer direct questions about how the law might be used against gay people in a nationally televised interview.

Referring to that interview Mr Pence said on Tuesday, “I could have handled that better this weekend.”

Despite the national outcry, Arkansas is set enact a similar measure as early as Tuesday. Unlike leaders in Indiana, Arkansas lawmakers said they will not modify their bill.


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