C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Marriage Wins in Arkansas and Mississippi

Marriage equality came a giant step closer to reality yesterday in two Deep South states, as Freedom to Marry reported overnight. Just amazing to this native Southerner.

1. Arkansas:
Today, November 25, U.S. District Court Judge Karen Baker ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Arkansas, declaring the state's Amendment 83, which limits the freedom to marry to different-sex couples, is unconstitutional. The ruling is staying pending a presumptive appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

The ruling is the second landmark decision in favor of marriage in Arkansas in less than 6 months, following a May 2014 ruling in state court, which is now currently being considered by the Arkansas Supreme Court. In May, following the state ruling, more than 500 same-sex couples from across the state received marriage licenses over the course of the week before the ruling was put on hold pending the appeal to the AR Supreme Court.

The case today was in Jernigan v. Crane, filed in July 2013 by Little Rock-based attorney Jack Wagoner of Wagoner Law Firm. The case before the Arkansas Supreme Court is Wright v. Smith.
Text of the ruling here.

2.  Mississippi:
The latest in a landmark string of court victories for the freedom to marry came today, November 25, from Mississippi, where a federal judge has ruled the state's constitutional amendment denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples unconstitutional. The ruling is stayed for 14 days pending appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves ruled today in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, a federal legal case challenging Missisippi's anti-marriage amendment. The judge struck down the marriage ban, the 56th court ruling since June 2013 in favor of the freedom to marry. Just four courts - most notably, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit - upheld marriage discrimination. Plaintiffs from the 6th Circuit cases, out of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, are now seeking review from that out-of-step ruling from the United States Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in a case out of Louisiana, where a federal judge upheld marriage discirmination in September, are also seeking Supreme Court review.

The case in Mississippi was brought on behalf of two same-sex couples and the Campaign for Southern Equality by private counsel, including Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Mississippi attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson. In 2013, Kaplan led Windsor v. United States, the case that brought down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act at the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013.
Text of the ruling here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


This excellent documentary series, produced by Thames Television in 1980 and narrated by James Mason, covers the rise and development of Hollywood from nickelodeon days to the end of the silent era, and includes interviews with many performers, writers, directors, and film crew from the period.  A must-see for film buffs.  Here is part 1:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 11/24/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Better late than never: Congrats to Dan Hunter and Randy Paul, who were among the first couples to marry in Butte, Montana, last Thursday, the Montana Standard reports. The guys have been a couple for 22 years.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Drive: Autumn Leaves

From the album Je m'appelle Barbra, 1966:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Don't Let the Bullies Get You Down

Ever feel like the world is ganging up on you and biting your butt big time?  Well then, maybe you will take heart from this video filmed by visitors to a game preserve in Zambia last week:

The astonished watchers promptly dubbed the little guy Hercules in admiration for his victory. Yes, he got away safely, with a great story to tell the folks back home.

Moral:  Don't fuck with the elephant, fellas.  He will kick your ass good.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Out in the Country

Country music star Ty Herndon, 52, came out yesterday in an interview with People magazine - read the full interview here.

Ty's warm and oh-so-studly voice was a favorite of your Head Trucker's back in the late 1990's, so I'm glad he's out and proud now. Here's one of his sexier hits, for those of you who aren't familiar with his work:

Sure works for me. Here's what I'm talkin' 'bout:

And there's more: emboldened by Herndon's revelation, 26-year-old fellow country artist Billy Gilman also came out yesterday in a video posted to YouTube:

What can I say but - Yeehaw!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama's Speech on Immigration

A very fine address.  I was moved by these words from his conclusion, emphasis mine:
Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger –- we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -– that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless this country we love.
Full text here.

More Marriage News

Current map of U. S. marriage equality per Wikipedia.
Click to enlarge.

Wow, take your eyes off the headlines for just a day, and you miss so much. But here's the skinny:

South Carolina's first same-sex marriage happened Wednesday.

And Montana will soon have them too, if the AG's appeal to the Supremes doesn't work.

Good news - enjoy it fellas, before we plunge into the deep darkness of another fascist Republican era, now fast approaching. All bets will be off then.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied South Carolina's request for a stay, so couples all over the Palmetto State began marrying shortly after 4 p.m., mirabile dictu.

You Yankee boys should understand - South Carolina is deeply conservative, even more so than Alabama or Mississippi.  They have lovely manners, but they are Bourbons who refuse to advance beyond the 19th century.  There's a reason why South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union.  This will fry all their tomatoes.

And in Montana:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 111714

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Drive: Tucumcari

Just for fun, here's Jimmie Rodgers singing with the Great Schnozzola in a clip from 1959:

And here's a poignant 2010 interview with Jimmie talking about his struggle with a disabling illness:

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