Gay Rights Supporters Celebrate Latest Victories

LGBT, News, Politics, Relationships

The gay rights movement had victories last week at the state level in Arizona, Texas, and Kentucky. The rulings are in line with the recent trend of striking down bans on same-sex marriage and advancing gay rights.

Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay/Religious Freedom Bill

Arizona bill SB 1062 was vetoed Wednesday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. The bill, titled “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” is similar to one that recently passed the House in Kansas, and would allow businesses the right to deny services to gays and lesbians. Last week the bill passed in the GOP-controlled Senate (17 to 13) and House (33 to 27).

Supporters of the bill believe it addresses the issue of religious freedom. Opponents see it as legalized discrimination. Those against the bill include big-name companies like Apple, Delta, and American Airlines.

Texas Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

Also on Wednesday, a Texas federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. A 2005 amendment to the state constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia stated that this definition violates the U.S. Constitution.

Judge Garcia issued a stay, meaning that the effects of his decision will not be immediate. The state of Texas has filed a notice of appeal, and the case will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Kentucky Judge Strikes Down Part of Gay Marriage Ban

Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages, a federal judge ordered Thursday. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Kentucky, and gay couples legally married in other places have not been afforded the rights of a married couple in Kentucky. This order issued by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II means spouses in a same-sex marriage could change their names on documents and receive the benefits that heterosexual married couples have in Kentucky. Licenses for same-sex marriages within the state are not affected by this order, and will still not be issued.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway will discuss whether or not to file an appeal. They have 30 days to do so. Conway’s request for a 90-day stay before the ruling was denied.