Just days after a Doña Ana County Clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a New Mexico judge has ordered Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to do the same, the AP reports:
The order late Thursday from District Judge Sarah Singleton (pictured) comes in a lawsuit by two Santa Fe men and represents the first time a New Mexico judge has ruled that gay and lesbian couples can be married, said state Rep. Brian Egolf, a lawyer representing the couple.
Singleton said Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar must grant the marriage licenses or appear in court Sept. 26 to tell her why that shouldn’t happen. Salazar did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
Egolf said Friday the ruling could help speed a resolution of the gay marriage issue in the state.
Approximately 90 same-sex couples have already received licenses in Doña Ana County, where the city of Las Cruces is located. A group of Republican lawmakers is planning a lawsuit to stop the clerk from handing them out.
The AP adds:
Singleton, in her order, said that “reading a sex or sexual orientation requirement into the laws of New Mexico violates the state constitution, which mandates that ‘equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.’”
Towleroad previously reported on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s decision to investigate the National Organization for Marriage for the alleged violation of state campaign financial disclosure law. NOM’s president, Brian Brown, subsequently posted an inflammatory response, accusing the board’s chair, Megan Tooker, of “bias” and “unprofessionalism”, and calling for her removal from the case. The board voted unanimously Wednesday not to remove Tooker from the case, and opted to proceed with the investigation.
Tooker told the Associated Press that she is careful not to make any sort of biased statements during meetings or to the press, and said that accusations such as this are common from PACs and candidates from throughout the political spectrum. “I never take that into account nor should I. The staff never takes that into account, it’s irrelevant. The only thing we care about is whether or not groups, candidates, and PACS comply with Iowa laws,” she said. The board’s vice-chairman, John Walsh, also offered his support for Tooker, and told press that he finds NOM’s accusations to be unfounded since they cannot produce evidence of any wrongdoing. “It’s all irrelevant because facts will determine this case. I don’t know why we’re having this extended argument about our counsel who in my opinion has done nothing wrong.”
With NOM backed into a corner, it chose to set its sights on another target: the openly-gay Republican politician who filed the first complaint to the IECDB, Fred Karger. The group posted an article on their official site attacking Karger and calling him a “serial, frivolous case filer”. NOM regional director Chris Plante said in the post that “it’s an effort to silence people who would stand for marriage in the public square, who would criticize and critique our politicians and judges who redefine marriage against the will of the people.” The group also falsely claims that it does not have to disclose its donor list under Iowa law, and that Karger is only filing the complaint to “silence” their “voice”.
Luckily, the Des Moines Register’s Editorial Board disagreed with NOM, calling the board’s decision to keep Tooker “wise”:
“The case against Tooker consisted of a couple of quotes lifted from an earlier board meeting in which she used strong words to disagree with NOM’s interpretation of the law in response to board members’ questions. Whether her language was too strong is a matter of interpretation, but it’s her job to give the board legal advice.
“NOM also said Tooker may be biased against the group because she worked as a law clerk for one of the three justices removed by voters in 2010. This, too, is a stretch: Her clerkship ended before the court considered the marriage case, and the fact that she worked for a member of the court who was later removed by voters is not, by itself, evidence that she can’t objectively interpret Iowa law….
“Whatever the ethics board decides, it is safe to say NOM will continue to wage a battle to protect the identities of its donors. If it prevails, the Legislature will have to rewrite the law to make clear that the source of money used to support or defeat candidates or ballot issues must be publicly reported.”
As for the group’s accusations against Karger? At present, they have yet to back it up with any sort of legal proceeding. Thus, it appears that it is simply a way for NOM to scare supporters into giving even more donations.
Details from their Facebook page:
Coke: Don’t Sponsor Hate! The Coca Cola Company is sponsoring Russian government hate at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. In June, Russia enacted its anti-gay propaganda law that bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. The Russian government has made being out and proud a crime. Coke is a World Partner and a major sponsor of the Games. Join Queer Nation NY and RUSA LGBT.
The protest begins at noon on Wednesday.
USA Today chuckles:
There may not be a Pride House at the Sochi Olympics. Visitors and athletes may run afoul of the anti-gay laws by wearing a rainbow pin. But somehow this slipped by Russia’s anti-propaganda police: A giant rainbow Olympic building! Notice it’s not five colors of the Olympic rings. It’s the whole rainbow spectrum including indigo and violet. Whooops!
via Joe. My. God. http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/08/emergency-paint-job-coming.html
Out L.A. Galaxy player Robbie Rogers stopped by Chelsea Lately last night to talk about how he came out, the upcoming Sochi Olympics and what should happen (he doesn’t want a boycott) and what it’s like now for him in the locker room.
Joked Rogers: “The guys are nothing but supportive. They make jokes when we’re in the shower, if the lights are off they’ll be like, ‘I wonder why the lights are off, you know, Robbie’s coming in the shower.'”
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP…
via Towleroad News #gay http://www.towleroad.com/2013/08/robbie-rogers-dishes-with-chelsea-handler-video.html
In the months approaching 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, the governing bodies of the games and its soon-to-be host nation have been at odds with LGBT rights advocates over the country’s newly-adopted anti-gay “propaganda” law. Russian officials have already promised that the law will be enforced during the Games, and the International Olympic Committee has already threatened penalties against anyone displaying “demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda”. Now, a new decree by Russian president Vladimir Putin, banning all “meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” starting one month prior to the games and ending in March, seems to be shortening the leash for LGBT Olympians even more.
“This fits a larger pattern of Russian threats against Olympics in the past few weeks, when both the Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, and the Russian Interior Ministry, responsible for overseeing domestic order (i.e., clamping down on dissidents and any public criticism of the Kremlin), threatened to jail gay and gay-friendly Olympians, guests and media during the Sochi games.”
Thus far, it is not known if Russian officials had been planning this crackdown as part of the Olympic Games, or if it is a response to any of the number of small displays of LGBT rights advocacy tht have been taking place on Russian soil recently. None of the governing bodies of the Sochi Games have issued a comment on those specific events. Nevertheless, experts are speculating that this upcoming Olympics could prove to be the most unsafe in history. Not because of the so-called “terrorists” named in Putin’s decree, mind you. This could be the first time that a host nation of the Olympics has threatened to throw its athletes in jail.
Again, while the IOC has already issued its decision regarding Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, it has yet to explain how this new degree plays into the equation. Say Olympians such as Johnny Weir and Blake Skjellerup decide to make good on their promises? Would it be the IOC that steps in to enforce the law or the Russian government? Even if the decree only really applies to Russian citizens and not Olympic athletes, police in Sochi have already been committing human rights atrocities against citizens and foreign nationals for months.
Perhaps what’s even most troubling about this new decree is how vaguely it’s worded. There’s no specific definition as to what “terrorism” constitutes, and precisely how it differentiates from exercises in free speech. It also doesn’t specify what sort of penalites the decree carries.