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Groups file briefs for New Mexico marriage equality


Several pro-LGBT organizations have filed legal briefs in New Mexico asking that the state’s supreme court officially legalize marriage equality.

The marriage debate in New Mexico has reached a critical moment after weeks of political back-and-forth, which have so far failed to determine whether same-sex marriages can be performed legally in the state or not. Some background:

On August 21, a clerk in Doña Ana County abruptly began issuing licenses to same-sex couples — though the decision was later challenged by Republican lawmakers, and county clerks throughout the state filed legal briefs seeking guidance from the state’s highest court.  

Later that month, a district judge in Santa Fe ruled that the state’s constitution did not preclude same-sex couples from marrying. A district judge in Bernalillo County affirmed this ruling, agreeing that denying marriage equality violates key provisions in the state’s constitution on equality and gender-based discrimination.

Arguments will begin October 23. Let’s do this! 

Nice knowing you

well my mom just took away my iPod so she can figure out whats going on in my mind because i don’t talk to her and my dad so she is going to go through all of my messages and my social accounts to figure it out that i,m gay. she gave me many opportunities to tell her but it just could never come out of my mouth. So nice knowing you i will probably be  sent to some camp to get straightened out, so goodbye.

California appeals court considers whether to disqualify gays from serving on juries


Did you know that being LGBT is enough to have you removed from a jury? I didn’t, either.

This week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about a gay man who was removed from the jury in a case pertaining to the price of an HIV treatment drug. When the juror in question mentioned his same-sex partner, one of the pharmaceutical companies in the case asked that he be removed, presumably because he’d be considered “biased.”

It’s a question of who constitutes “a jury of one’s peers,” and unfortunately, it’s not a new debate.

What some have viewed as a snazzy get-out-of-jury-duty-free card is actually a confusing and contested legal practice. Courts have ruled both for and against excluding gay jurors, while some have argued that the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision barring race as grounds for juror dismissal should also extend to sexual orientation.  …

This issue also draws from larger cultural debates about what an “impartial,” “normal” or “neutral” person looks like, and whether having any kind of identity marker besides those that are usually normalized into invisibility makes you inherently biased (the controversy over Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a good example). Juries are supposed to be composed of “peers;” questions about whether marginalized people belong on juries get to fundamental questions of equality and humanity, and whether the majority culture really considers marginalized groups its “peers.”

The debate over gay jurors is more than just a debate about one more instance of discrimination against gay people in a specific space; it’s about whether gay people should be allowed full access to the rights of American citizenship, about whether their identity means an inherent bias that keeps them from being able to weigh in on things meaningfully, and as the Abbott case illustrates, whether they should be allowed a legal voice on issues that affect them.

This Autostraddle piece about the case does a beautiful job of articulating why we should be doing more than just raising our eyebrows at a story like this. (It was also written by my favorite person in the world.) When a person can be deliberately left out of the judicial process simply for being gay, we’ve got a real problem.

Read the article and you’ll learn something. I definitely did.

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