Texas, Nevada, Michigan and Idaho: All four are poised to make major strides toward the freedom to marry this summer. Last week multiple courts announced schedules for court dates in all four states.
The first one to watch is Texas, where briefings are due in early July. That state's marriage-equality ban has already been declared unconstitutional, but now we have to wait for an appeal to work its way through the system. And in Michigan a court has just slated oral arguments for early August.
Then there's Nevada, where the situation has been growing steadily more complicated: First a judge upheld a marriage-equality ban, but then an appeals court issued a ruling in a completely separate case that changes the way the courts would have to examine anti-gay laws. That, coupled with the attorney general's decision not to defend the ban, means that the law has a good chance of being overturned on appeal. Oral argument in that case has just been scheduled for September.
One of many Florida lawsuits is moving ahead, and we just got a glimpse into Attorney General Pam Bondi's strategy for defending her state's anti-gay ban. It's typical of the weak arguments that anti-gay activists have always used: Bondi claims that allowing gay people to marry will somehow decrease the number of straight families, but she can't explain why that would happen. This line of reasoning has failed in over a dozen cases in the last year.
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is still struggling in Maine, having suffered an uninterrupted string of defeats in the state stretching back two years. The state Ethics Commission has approved a fine for NOM of over $50,000 for ethics lapses during a 2009 campaign. For their part, NOM has vowed to fight the decision, which will keep them bogged down in court for another year, and possibly more.
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