Thursday, April 1, 2010

Recent news and commentary

Varnum v. Brien

On the eve of the first anniversary of Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009), Iowa Gov. Chet Culver praised the state legislature for not adopting a proposed amendment intended to reverse the ruling (HJR 2001). Although he personally opposes same-sex marriage, he said that "[w]e stood firm for the civil rights of every Iowan by saying loudly and clearly that any and all efforts to add discriminatory amendments to our state constitution have no place in our state constitution." (Sioux City Journal / Des Moines Register) Culver faces a "tough re-election fight" against three Republican candidates who favor an amendment. One of the candidates, Rod Roberts, supports a recall of three judges on the Varnum court when voters decide on their retention next year.

Tomorrow the University of Iowa will host a panel to "to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Varnum v. Brien." (Iowa One) Panelists include Camilla Taylor, "a Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda's Midwest Regional Office and ... architect of the couples' case." On April 10th, Drake University will mark the anniversary with a symposium, "The Same-Sex Marriage Divide." (Legal Scholarship Blog /

Evan Wolfson observes that "the milestone marks yet another moment in the marriage movement when critics said we couldn't - but we did." (Huffington Post)

Lewis v. Harris II

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys have filed a motion to intervene in Lewis v. Harris on behalf of three state legislators who oppose marriage equality. (, cross posted by ADF Alliance Alert) The legislators claim that the plaintiffs are trying "to usurp legislative authority and compel legislative action" as a remedy.


"A judge in Travis County declined Wednesday to consider Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's request to intervene in the county's first same-sex divorce case, letting stand the judge's February decision to grant a divorce to two women who had been married in another state." (Houston Chronicle /

Out-of-state recognition

Last month, Maryland Delegate Don H. Dwyer, Jr., R-Anne Arundel County, introduced articles of impeachment against state Attorney General Douglas Gansler (Delgate Dwyer's Dispatches) Dwyer believes that Gansler abused his constitutional authority when he issued an advisory opinion upholding recognition of same-sex marriages licensed outside of Maryland. The impeachment has failed. (Baltimore Sun, cross-posted by Straight Talk on Marriage / AP / Washington Post)

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