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Ohio Judge Does Not Have ‘Religious Freedom’ Right To Refuse Service To Same-Sex Couples, Says Americans United

Toledo Officials Must Facilitate Marriages For All Qualified Couples, Church-State Watchdog Says

A Toledo, Ohio, judge who refused to serve a same-sex couple violated that couple’s constitutional rights, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In a letter sent today, Americans United explained that government employees responsible for performing duties related to marriage are not permitted to serve opposite-sex couples exclusively. Read more

Government Employees Have No ‘Religious Freedom’ Right To Refuse Service To Same-Sex Couples, Says Americans United

Clerks Must Issue Marriage Licenses To All Qualified Couples, Church-State Watchdog Says

Government employees who oppose marriage equality because of their religious beliefs are not entitled to refuse service to same-sex couples, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has informed officials in all 50 states today.
In a letter released today, which will be sent to all state attorneys general as well as county clerks in Texas and South Dakota, Americans United explains that with marriage equality now the law of the land, government employees do not have the ri

Voters In Ireland Rebuff Church With Vote In Favor Of Marriage Equality

Residents of Ireland voted in May to amend the country’s constitution to legalize same-sex marriage, despite fierce opposition from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and interference from American Religious Right groups.

The successful vote means that a single sentence will be added to the Irish Constitution:  “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” Read more

N.C. Legislature Votes To Override Veto Of Anti-Gay Bill

Both chambers of the North Carolina legislature have voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of a discriminatory “religious freedom” bill. The bill will allow magistrates who object to same-sex marriage to opt out of solemnizing the ceremonies, even though they are public officials. Read more

A Scottish Ramble: In Europe, Anti-LGBT Animus Gives Up The Ghost

Usually, when I go on a trip outside of the United States, I write a column about the church-state relationship in whatever place I have visited.  

I did return to Scotland recently, leaving the United States on May 23. In advance of the flight, I called my daughter to wish her a happy birthday and, since things have been kind of quiet on the Scottish church-state front lately, boned up on the Irish referendum on marriage equality. Read more

Alabama Probate Judges Must Immediately Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Alabama Supreme Court Order Does Not Allow Judges To Refuse Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples, Civil Liberties Groups Say

Alabama’s probate judges are under an immediate obligation to issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples, say the four civil-rights organizations that are representing same-sex couples in the state.

Pursuant to a May 21 order by Judge Callie V.S Granade in Strawser v. Strange, probate judges became obligated to obey the U.S. Constitution and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the date that “the Supreme Court issues its ruling”  in Obergefell v. Hodges. The ruling in Obergefell was issued on June 26, so Judge Granade’s injunction is now in effect. Read more

Supreme Court Decision On Marriage Equality Will Spur New Round Of ‘Religious Freedom’ Battles, Americans United Says

Religious Right Groups Will Seek To Undermine Historic Ruling, Asserts Church-State Watchdog

Americans United for Separation of Church and State welcomes today’s Supreme Court ruling extending marriage equality nationwide but cautions that it will spark a sharp backlash from the Religious Right.

The high court ruled 5-4 that it is unconstitutional for states to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. States will also be required to recognize all legal marriage licenses issued by other states, including those given to gay couples. Read more